Town Hall denies Tower Hamlets voting fraud after axing 890 from register

PUBLISHED: 18:44 02 May 2012

Police are investigating allegations of electoral offences in London’s East End for tomorrow’s London Assembly and Mayor elections.

But Town Hall officials at Tower Hamlets have described some reports attacking its handling of vote fraud as “grossly inaccurate.”

The authority maintains it is backing police investigations and is confident the election processes are among the strongest in London.

“Evidence of the effectiveness of our processes comes from the recent Spitalfields by-election where 14 per cent of postal votes were rejected,” says a council statement tonight.

“Unlike many other authorities, we electronically scan 100 per cent of postal votes—if signatures don’t match those we have on our records, the postal votes are rejected under electoral law.”

Allegations of fraud can be made very quickly, says the council, but “it takes time to investigate them.”

The Town Hall is looking into two cases and says it is currently satisfied there is no evidence of fraud.

One case reported was that a dead man had cast a vote—his family has confirmed that he requested and received a postal vote before he died.

A man in the second case was alleged to have voted while in prison. The council has confirmed the man was on remand when requesting a postal vote and pointed out that remand prisoners are eligible to take part in elections.

A spokesman added: “It’s important not to confuse fraudulent activity with an electoral register that changes by up to 20 per cent between canvasses. We have a highly-mobile population which includes a high proportion of students and restaurant workers.”

The authority carried out extra visits to addresses to check on 4,700 registered electors in the days before the register closed—it resulted in 890 names being scratched as those registered had since moved.

Police and council officers are on duty at Tower Hamlets polling stations tomorrow to make it harder to commit electoral fraud.

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