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Yard called in over 'serious voting fraud' in London Mayor election
Watchdog hands over evidence of 'abuses' of voting register
26 April 2012
Scotland Yard was today asked by the elections watchdog to investigate “unprecedented” evidence of voter fraud ahead of next week’s polling for London Mayor.
The Electoral Commission passed evidence to police after six Labour councillors in Tower Hamlets wrote to warn of “serious abuses of the electoral register”. It follows growing concerns of cheating in the east London borough, involving the creation of bogus voters at a series of addresses.
An investigation by the Evening Standard this year found instances of eight names registered in one room to vote. It is claimed that a man locked up in prison was recorded as having voted in a recent by-election, which points to genuine identities being hijacked.
In a letter to the commission’s chairwoman, Jenny Watson, the councillors said: “We write to you as a matter of urgency to demand action be taken about what we believe to be serious abuses of the electoral register and gross voting malpractice in Tower Hamlets.
“In particular we are concerned at the unprecedented number of households that have recently signed up for postal votes in the borough. This was evident last week during the Spitalfields and Banglatown by-election.
“We are aware of instances where people who no longer live at an address are still being sent postal votes and their votes have been cast. We are also aware of instances where postal votes have been collected from voters.
“Similar activities are occurring in Weavers ward, where a by-election will be held on May 3. Other elections are also due and their integrity may be compromised.”
The letter was signed by Helal Abbas, Khales Uddin Ahmed, Bill Turner, Rachael Saunders, Zenith Rahman and Anwar Khan.
Tower Hamlets said in a statement: "We work to the full extent of our powers to ensure the electoral register is as accurate as possible - in fact we conducted extra visits to over 4,700 electors in the days before the register closed.
"As a result we removed 890 electors from the list as they had moved on. We also encourage residents to report any suspicious activity to us and to the Police - whose duty it is to investigate.
" However it is important not to confuse fraudulent activity with a register that changes by up to 20 per cent a month because we have a population that is highly mobile - our borough includes a high proportion of students and restaurant workers. The borough would support moves to strengthen the law to make it harder to commit electoral fraud."
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