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MP backs new bid to cut voting fraud
8:30am Friday 8th June 2012 in Local news
New legislation aimed at reducing voting fraud has been welcomed by Ilkley’s MP, who described electoral malpractice as an affront to democracy.
Kris Hopkins was responding to the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill, which has just begun its passage through parliament. If passed it will require voters to be registered individually rather than by household.
A new system of verifying individuals to be added to the electoral register will also be established, with applicants being required to confirm their identity by providing their date of birth, signature and National Insurance number.
The annual canvass is to be retained under the proposed changes, but returning a canvass form will no longer register people living at a particular address. It will instead alert the Electoral Registration Officer as to who is resident there so an invitation to register individually can be issued.
A civil penalty would be imposed on a person who fails to comply with a request to register.
Mr Hopkins said: “I warmly welcome the range of initiatives in this bill aimed at targeting electoral fraud, which is nothing short of an affront to a Western democracy such as ours.
“Voter turnout numbers have dropped to record low levels in recent years, largely as a result of people losing faith in politics and politicians.
“Those of us involved in politics have a responsibility to work harder than ever before to encourage the electorate to re-engage with the political process.
“New ways must also be found to make it as easy as possible for people to cast their vote. But we must never compromise on the integrity of the electoral process itself.
“As such, it is quite right that every individual voter is properly identified and their vote cast by them and them alone. Electoral fraud can never be accepted and those who practice it must be made to face the consequences of their illegal actions.
“I look forward to giving my support to these new measures as they are debated in the House of Commons.”