Posted: 02.05.21 at 08:25 by Philippa Davies
A campaign to prevent electoral fraud ahead of next week’s local elections is being backed by East Devon District Council (EDDC).
Elections will be held on 6 May for Devon County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner, and district and parish authorities.
The district council is emphasising that in any UK election, a person’s vote belongs to them alone, and it’s illegal for anyone to influence someone to vote against their will.
The ‘Your vote is yours alone’ campaign, launched by the Electoral Commission and Crimestoppers, aims to raise awareness of what constitutes unacceptable pressure or influence on whether or how someone casts their vote.
Mark Williams, returning officer at East 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 supporting 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, added: “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 the website, or by calling on the Freephone number 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.”