U.K. Urged to Start Identity Checks for Voters in 2019

The U.K. should introduce identity checks at polling stations to cut the risk of fraud, the Electoral Commission said.

Successful measures to curb the abuse of postal voting will lead people who want to rig elections to turn to voting in polling stations and there should be deterrents in place, the electoral watchdog said in a report published today. Voters currently don’t have to produce any identity documents in order to cast a ballot.

“Proven cases of electoral fraud are rare, and when it is committed, the perpetrators tend to be candidates or their supporters,” Jenny Watson, the chairwoman of the Electoral Commission, said in an e-mailed statement. “Voters are the victims, and sustained action is needed now to prevent fraud from taking place.”

Alongside the requirement for identity checks, which the commission said should be in place no later than the local and European elections scheduled for 2019, the commission called on officials to be more proactive in identifying areas at risk of fraud through analysis of past activity. They should also work more closely with the police.

Candidates and political parties should sign up to a code of conduct for preventing fraud and, if they fail to do so, a change in the law should be considered, particularly over party involvement in signing people up for absentee votes, the commission said.

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