Tower Hamlets at greater risk of ‘vote-rigging’ - Electoral Commission

00:01 08 January 2014

All of the local authority areas identified are in England (Picture: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

All of the local authority areas identified are in England (Picture: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

2013 Getty Images

The east London borough of Tower Hamlets features on a list of 16 local authority areas identified as being at greater risk of complaints of alleged vote-rigging being reported.

The Electoral Commission published its “at-risk” list today alongside a call for all voters to be required to show proof of identity at a polling station before they can vote.

The commission has launched a study into concerns that some South Asian communities - notably those with roots in parts of Pakistan and Bangladesh - were particularly susceptible to electoral fraud.

Sixteen local authority areas - all of them in England - have been identified as being at greater risk of complaints of alleged vote-rigging being reported.

The commission said it was essential that electoral registration officers, returning officers and police forces in those areas put in place measures to protect the integrity of the vote before the next set of local and European elections in May.

The at-risk areas include Birmingham, the scene of a notorious ballot-rigging case in 2004 which the presiding judge said would “disgrace a banana republic”.

Others on the list are Blackburn with Darwen, Bradford, Burnley, Calderdale, Coventry, Derby, Hyndburn, Kirklees, Oldham, Pendle, Peterborough, Slough, Tower Hamlets, Walsall, and Woking.

In its final report of electoral fraud in the UK, the commission rejected calls to restrict access to postal voting - which has been at the centre of many of the allegations - saying it would prevent many innocent people from casting their vote.

The commission said it would be working with academic experts to try to identify common factors in areas where fraud as been attempted and to devise improved strategies to prevent it occurring at future elections. It is expected to report towards the end of 2014.

In the meantime, the commission said that it would continue to monitor closely the situation in the higher-risk areas.

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