McMahon’s plea to stamp out electoral fraud
Reporter: Robbie MacDonald
Date online: 09 January 2014
THE leader of Oldham Council has made an impassioned call for voters to report suspected election fraud.
His call follows a new report highlighting Oldham as one of 16 boroughs “highly susceptible” to polling complaints.
Councillor McMahon was responding to a new report from the Electoral Commission which made suggestions for tighter practices to stop ballot-rigging and restore trust at election time.
The Electoral Commission said areas with Pakistani and Bangladeshi populations are “particularly susceptible” to complaints of electoral fraud.
The report said it was essential for council electoral registration officers, returning officers and police forces to put measures in place in time for May’s European elections.
Councillor McMahon said: “If a councillor has been elected through fraud they hold no democratic legitimacy. The one-person, one-vote system was hard fought for over generations. Using ballot papers as a commodity which can be traded is an attack on the very thing we fight to defend and will not be tolerated.
“If we receive any allegations of this type, we immediately report them to the police so they can be investigated thoroughly. We would always encourage anyone with information regarding suspected electoral fraud or irregularities to report concerns to us or the police.”
Greater Manchester Police declined to comment in detail about the Electoral Commission’s recommendations or elections in Oldham. But Oldham Supt Catherine Hankinson said: “We have a robust policing operation in respect of local and national elections and this will continue into the future in partnership with the local authority and elected members.”
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