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Bid to prevent more Tower Hamlets election fraud with new checks on who's registered to vote

PUBLISHED: 11:38 12 August 2019 | UPDATED: 11:53 12 August 2019

Tackling voter fraud... new Tower Hamlets electoral register. Picture: Mike Brooke

Tackling voter fraud... new Tower Hamlets electoral register. Picture: Mike Brooke

Mike Brooke

Official questionnaires aimed at stopping voting fraud are being sent out by Tower Hamlets Council to more than 90,000 households in the East End.

General Election polling station set up at Bluegate Primary School in 2017. Picture: LBTHGeneral Election polling station set up at Bluegate Primary School in 2017. Picture: LBTH

The documents are asking for details of who lives in each household and is a legal requirement to respond, the council warns, to make sure everyone on the new register being publishing in December is entitled to vote.

Security is being stepped up after tainted local elections in 2010 and 2014 which were undermined by false registrations and forged postal ballots.

One of the biggest-ever security operations in the country to root out criminal interference when Tower Hamlets next goes to the polls, which includes a possible snap general election in November after the Brexit deadline, is under way at the town hall by election registration officer Will Tuckley.

"We have one of the fastest growing populations in the country," he said. "It's vital that everyone with the right to vote is on the register at election time.

Election Registration officer Will Tuckley gets security ready to prevent any more voting fraud. Picture: Kois MiahElection Registration officer Will Tuckley gets security ready to prevent any more voting fraud. Picture: Kois Miah

"Using our democratic right to vote is one of the most important powers and privileges that we have as citizens."

The council needs to know of any changes for those listed on the current register to make sure there is no tampering.

Those registered in recent voting, including the European elections in May, still need to respond to confirm whether the details are correct or if any changes are needed. Households have to respond by post, online, text or telephone, even if there are no changes.

Registering is a legal requirement, the council points out. The information can also be used by police for identity checks to tackle fraud and money laundering. It is used by agencies to check the names and addresses of anyone applying for credit cards, mobile phones and mortgages.

Election Registration officer Will Tuckley declaring result in one ward in 2018 Tower Hamlets Council elections. Picture: LBTHElection Registration officer Will Tuckley declaring result in one ward in 2018 Tower Hamlets Council elections. Picture: LBTH

The corrupt 2014 Tower Hamlets election was overturned in the High Court after forged postal ballots, "ghost voters" on the register and false addresses were uncovered in their droves.

It took a citizens election petition led by anti-corruption campaigner Andy Erlam to get it declared void and re-run the following year.

The deposed mayor was also banned from public office for five years for what the Election Court declared was corruption and malpractice and barred as a solicitor.

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