H&F Tories Allege Voter Malpractice in Fulham Wards

Labour say claims are baseless and politically motivated

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The Conservatives in Hammersmith and Fulham have reported to the police what they say are eleven cases of voter malpractice in the borough.

They are reportedly alleging that some residents are saying they have been issued with postal votes for the local elections on 3 May they did not request. The Evening Standard is quoting one woman who said she was tricked into signing up, thinking that she was signing a petition about Charing Cross Hospital.

The Conservatives claim there has been a surge in people applying for postal votes in some marginal wards in the Labour-run borough. They say there have been huge increases in postal vote registration on several estates where Labour is strong.

Figures compiled by the Tories show postal vote registrations in Town ward, which has three Conservative councillors, rose from 1,268 before last year’s general election to 2,005 this month. More specifically, in the Town ward 'C' polling district which runs from Fulham Road towards Putney Bridge, the number jumped from 307 in March 2017 to 758 this month.

Conservatives say that on four estates in this district there have been big rises in postal vote registrations to 50% of the electorate in Pulton Place, 42% in Fulham Court, and 35%on Barclay Close and Lancaster Court. 

Greg Hands, Tory MP for Chelsea and Fulham, said, "Some people were signed up by the Labour Party and are telling us that they had not knowingly requested one (a postal vote) and do not want one." 

The London Labour Party has rejected accusations of wrongdoing against its campaign teams. A spokesman said, "This is a completely baseless allegation and a desperate, politically-motivated attempt by a Tory MP to use the police to grab a headline during a closely-fought election campaign."

A spokesperson for H&F Council added, "There are currently no concerns about the validity of any votes in Hammersmith and Fulham."

The Metropolitan Police Service says it is assessing 65 allegations in relation to the upcoming local elections in London before deciding whether they should be investigated. It did not confirm that any of these allegations related to the local borough.

They say, "In the run up to any election it is not unusual for allegations to be made to police.

"The Met is currently assessing 65 allegations in relation to the Local Council and Mayoral Elections, before any decision is made whether or not to investigate."

The Electoral Commission and Crimestoppers have teamed up to launch a campaign ahead of the elections, called Your Vote Is Yours Alone, aimed at helping to prevent electoral fraud, including information about postal votes. You find out more about this campaign at Crimestoppers' website.

However, the commission's chief executive Claire Bassett says proven cases are rare. During the 2017 UK general election, the commission received more than 1,000 emails and 60 letters from 47 MPs making claims of double voting, but this resulted in just one person being convicted and found that eight accepting police cautions - four were over registration offences, one about a false statement on a nomination form, two related to postal votes and one to the return of election expenses.

 

April 25, 2018

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