Mark Whitehead 24 May 2023

New checks on postal and proxy voting announced

New checks on postal and proxy voting announced image
Image: Powerofflowers / Shutterstock.com.

Further checks to ensure there is no fraud when people vote by post or by proxy could soon be introduced, according to the Government.

Voters will have to reapply for postal votes more regularly, and people will be able to cast fewer proxy votes, which allow people to cast ballots without having to go to a polling station in person.

The new regulations will limit the total number of electors for whom a person may act as a proxy to four and will introduce an identity check for all applications.

The change will apply to applications made on paper and online and bring the ‘absent vote’ application process in line with the Individual Electoral Registration ‘Register to Vote’ process.

A new requirement will require applicants to reapply for a postal vote at least every three years, instead of five years as at present.

The Government says the changes will ‘deliver on our manifesto commitment to protect the integrity of our democracy’ and ‘reduce the opportunity for individuals to exploit the absent voting process and steal votes.’

The introduction of the voter ID requirement led to an estimated one in 100 people being turned away from the polling stations without valid ID.

In the past five years, there is no evidence of large-scale electoral fraud, according to the Electoral Commission. Of the 1,386 cases of alleged electoral fraud reported to police between 2018 and 2022, nine led to convictions and the police issued six cautions.

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