Politics

Clampdown on voter fraud with stricter rules on postal and proxy votes

Ed Davey discusses ‘solid progress’ after election

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Limits are expected to be imposed on the number of postal votes any individual can deliver. The proposed electoral law will be among around 30 Bills announced by the Queen at the State Opening of Parliament. Other legislation lined up for this session includes an Immigration Bill to tighten border controls, and changes to encourage innovation and bring new technology to the NHS.

Chloe Smith, Minister for the Constitution and Devolution, said: “Stealing someone’s vote is stealing their voice. Fraud, and the intent to intimidate or coerce a voter, are crimes.

“So this Government is stamping out the space for such damage to take place in our elections.”

Notorious voter fraud cases include the 2014 mayoral election in Tower Hamlets, east London, which was declared void due to illegal practices.

A review headed by former Cabinet minister Lord Pickles found that there was a risk of postal votes being stolen, or of real postal voters being coerced.

The crackdown is expected to spark an outcry from Labour, who claim the Government use compulsory identity checks at polling stations to suppress voting among the less well-off.

And ministers have already disappointed campaigners by admitting a plan for overhauling the crumbling social care system for the elderly and other vulnerable adults will not be included in this year’s Queen’s Speech.

Yesterday Cabinet Officer Minister Michael Gove insisted the plan is “heading for the statute books” by the end of the year.

Meanwhile the Queen’s visit to the Palace of Westminster will be reduced in terms of pomp. Significantly fewer MPs and peers will attend a pared-down procession into the House of Lords.

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