Mid Devon District Council is supporting a campaign that has been launched by the Electoral Commission and Crimestoppers, the independent crime reporting charity, to help prevent electoral fraud ahead of May’s local elections.
In any election in the UK, a person’s vote belongs to them alone. It is illegal for anyone to influence a person to vote against their will.
The impact of electoral fraud on voters can be significant. It takes away their right to vote as they want – whether through intimidation, bribery or by impersonating someone in order to cast a vote in their place.
The Your vote is yours alone campaign aims to raise awareness of what constitutes unacceptable pressure or influence on whether or how someone casts their vote.
Ahead of local elections on 6 May for Devon County Council, the Police and Crime Commission, District and Parish elections together with a local planning Referedum, Mid Devon District Council will distribute leaflets and run a social media campaign encouraging voters to get to know the signs of electoral fraud and how they can anonymously report cases if someone tries to take their vote.
Jill May, Returning Officer at Mid Devon said:
“Unfortunately, on rare occasions, some people may try to manipulate our electoral system and commit electoral fraud. Many people may not be aware that their actions constitute a crime. Your vote is yours alone, and we are launching this campaign so that voters know what to do if they suspect they are a victim of electoral fraud.”
Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission, said:
“Whether you are voting in person at a polling station on 6 May or completing your postal vote at home, it’s important that your vote is yours alone. No one should feel pressured to vote a certain way. While proven cases of electoral fraud are rare, it remains a serious crime and those who commit it can be sentenced to time in prison.”
Mark Hallas, Chief Executive of the charity Crimestoppers, said:
The UK has a long tradition of maintaining a trustworthy electoral system where abuses, such as voter fraud, are thankfully rare. However, when it does happen it undermines that reputation, which is why it’s crucial that anyone who has concerns or suspicions speaks up anonymously via our charity.
Our UK Contact Centre is open 24/7 and available online via Crimestoppers-uk.org or by calling freephone 0800 555 111. We never ask or take personal details and have always kept our promise of anonymity to everyone who trusts us with their information.