Election campaign starts in Tower Hamlets with new rules to prevent fraud

New Tower Hamlets ward map

New Tower Hamlets ward map - Credit: Archant

With four weeks to go before Tower Hamlets heads to the polls, the Advertiser is gearing up to bring you the best local election coverage, with interviews, analysis and more.

A crackdown on alleged vote-rigging and the directly-elected Mayor facing his first electoral challenge is the focus of the May 22 poll where residents will vote to keep ward councillors or dump them.

The election will see tough new procedures in place to avoid the allegations of fraud of the past.

The new protocol, praised this week by the Electoral Commission, was unveiled in January and developed with the help of the Met.

In a statement, the commission said: “We have been pleased the Returning Officer and the Met Police have worked hard to put in place plans to ­deter and detect electoral fraud, which will help ensure the elections in the borough are run in a fair and transparent way in accordance with electoral law.”

Unlike most boroughs, Tower Hamlets will also pick a ­directly-elected mayor to head the council. Lutfur Rahman was elected as an Independent in 2010, and will face his first electoral challenge this year from Lib Dem candidate Reetendranath Banerji, Labour candidate John Biggs, Ukip candidate Nicholas McQueen, Green candidate Chris Smith and Conservative Chris Wilford.

This election will also see an ­increase in the number of wards from 17 to 20, and a ­reduction in the number of councillors, from 51 to 45.

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The changes have been made by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England so each councillor represents roughly the same number of residents.

You can check which ward you now live in with a “ward finder” on the council’s website.

Polling stations will be opened in schools and other buildings across the East End and will be listed in the Advertiser closer to the election.

For more information visit towerhamlets.gov.uk/vote.

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