Petition Stop Postal Votes except for the elderly and disabled

Postal voting is ‘wide open to fraud’ and should be scrapped in its current form. Judge Richard Mawrey, who sits in judgment on election fraud cases, previously said ballot-rigging was now a ‘probability’ in some parts of Britain due to the extension of postal voting.

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He said postal voting is open to fraud on a scale that will make election rigging a possibility and indeed in some areas a probability.
The Electoral Commission has warned that it was concerned about 16 council areas in England, including Birmingham, and has launched a study into concerns that some communities are particularly susceptible to electoral fraud.

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Government responded

This response was given on 3 September 2019

Electoral fraud is unacceptable in any form. The Government is committed to reforming the postal vote system to prevent fraud and ensure our elections are secure.

Electoral fraud is unacceptable on any level, and in its 2017 manifesto the Government committed to tackling every aspect of electoral fraud. The Government is committed to further reforming the postal vote system to prevent fraud and ensure our elections are secure.

The Government has no plans to restrict postal voting to elderly and disabled voters. Postal voting has proved popular with many voters who find it a convenient way to cast their vote, including those whose work regularly takes them away from home. Many people work at times which clash with polling station opening times and others work away from home on a regular basis or are at risk of being called away so opt to use a postal vote. Unforeseen circumstances such as temporarily having to relocate for a period of time to provide care for a relative or friend could also impact someone’s ability to vote in person. Postal votes are also widely used by military service personnel, Crown servants and their families based abroad. UK citizens living abroad also rely on postal votes, especially where it is not possible for them to appoint a proxy.

Restricting postal voting to elderly or disabled voters would prevent other groups such as these from availing themselves of the same benefits that postal voting can provide.

There are already measures in place designed to enhance the security of postal voting, but the Government made a manifesto commitment to reform postal voting and is working to make the process more robust.

In 2016 (the then) Sir Eric Pickles conducted a review of electoral fraud which considered postal voting and identified a number of areas in which the existing rules around postal voting at elections could be tightened. The Government responded by outlining a series of measures to further secure the postal voting process.

The Government will be seeking to extend the provisions on ballot secrecy already in place for voting in person, to postal voting. The Government will look for opportunities to introduce measures that will prohibit party campaigners from handling postal votes, and apply a limit to the number of postal ballots any one individual can hand in at a

polling station. Our intention would be for this measure to be backed up by a new offence; this will make a significant contribution to enhancing the security of postal voting.

These and other measures represent a comprehensive approach to addressing the risks of postal voting fraud secure.

Cabinet Office.

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/258370)

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Original Government response

Electoral fraud is unacceptable in any form. The Government is committed to reforming the postal vote system to prevent fraud and ensure our elections are secure.

Electoral fraud is unacceptable on any level, and in its 2017 manifesto the Government committed to tackling every aspect of electoral fraud.

The Government is committed to reforming the postal vote system to prevent fraud and ensure our elections are secure. Postal voting has proved popular with many voters who find it a convenient way to cast their vote, including those whose work regularly takes them away from home. There are already measures in place designed to enhance the security of postal voting, but the Government made a manifesto commitment to reform postal voting and is working to make the process more robust.

In 2016 (the then) Sir Eric Pickles conducted a review of electoral fraud which considered postal voting and identified a number of areas in which the existing rules around postal voting at elections could be tightened. The Government responded by outlining a series of measures to further secure the postal voting process.

The Government will be seeking to extend the provisions on ballot secrecy already in place for voting in person, to postal voting. The Government will look for opportunities to introduce measures that will prohibit party campaigners from handling postal votes, and apply a limit to the number of postal ballots any one individual can hand in at a polling station. Our intention would be for the provisions to be backed up by a new offence; this will make a significant contribution to enhancing the security of postal voting.

These and other measures represent a comprehensive approach to addressing the risks of postal voting fraud.

Cabinet Office.

This response was given on 24 June 2019. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.

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