Closed petition Scrap 'On-Demand' Postal Voting, & Create Strict Eligibility Criteria

Postal votes can be exploited by fraudsters to undermine democracy & attempt to rig elections. As Sir Eric Pickles' report into tackling electoral fraud suggested - & as much of the public would like to see - restrictions should be placed on the availability of postal votes.

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Postal votes should only be made available to the sick, citizens overseas, & those with no other alternative but to use one.

We must urgently secure & strengthen our democracy, whilst restoring public faith in the electoral system. Postal votes should only be made available to those who can prove with relevant documentation that they are physically unable to cast their vote at their designated polling station. This should be limited to armed forces personnel, the seriously ill, and to British citizens working or living overseas.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 8 October 2020

Electoral fraud is unacceptable and we are working to reform postal voting to ensure our elections are secure. However, the Government has no plans to abolish postal voting in its current form.

Read the response in full

Electoral fraud is unacceptable on any level. There are already measures in place designed to enhance the security of postal voting, such as postal vote identifiers. In response to Lord (then Sir) Eric Pickles report on electoral fraud, the Government accepted recommendations to strengthen the postal vote system and, in line with our manifesto commitment, we are working to reform postal voting to ensure our elections are secure. When Parliamentary time allows, the Government will bring forward legislation to introduce measures that will restrict the handling of postal votes by people who may seek to abuse or subvert them and introduce controls on the return of postal votes via polling stations, which has been a cause for concern in past elections.

The Government does not support all-postal voting, which would increase fraud risks, and remove choice from voters who wish to cast their vote in person. However, the Government has no plans to abolish the postal vote system in its current form and Lord Pickles’ report did not propose the removal of postal voting on demand. Postal voting enables many people to cast their vote who may otherwise not be able to vote. Many other voters find it a convenient way to cast their vote that fits in with busy lifestyles for people who work or have caring commitments. That said, we continue to look at ways to develop the process to ensure postal voting remains secure.

Cabinet Office

Government announces plans for laws to safeguard elections

As part of the Queen's Speech on Tuesday 11th May, the Government announced that it plans to introduce new laws to protect the integrity of elections in the UK.

The Government's proposals include new protections on postal and proxy voting, requiring voters to produce identification to vote in a polling station, new measures to prevent foreign interference in elections, and removing the 15 year limit on the voting rights of British expats.

The Government intends to introduce a new Bill into Parliament to make these changes - the Electoral Integrity Bill. This Bill will be published in due course.

Read the Queen's Speech background briefing notes for more information on the Government's proposed Bill:

What is the Queen's Speech?

The Queen's Speech is the speech that the Queen reads out in the House of Lords Chamber on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament.

It's written by the Government and sets out the programme of Bills - new laws, and changes to existing laws - that the Government intends to put forward in this new Parliamentary session. A session of Parliament usually lasts around one year.

Once the Government puts forward a Bill in Parliament, Parliament then debates the Government's proposal and decides whether to adopt the changes to the law set out in the Bill.