Friday, 30 April 2010

Postal Vote Fraud In Derby

ALLEGATIONS of postal vote fraud are being investigated by police in Derby.

A complaint has been sent by the Conservative party to Derbyshire police about suspected fraud in the Sinfin ward in the Derby City Council local elections – which will be held on May 6, the same day as the General Election.

The complaint involves concerns that a voter was approached by men requesting her to fill in and sign three postal voting forms in favour of the Labour party.

It is an offence to complete a postal vote that is not your own or to influence how others complete their postal vote.

Chief Superintendent Andy Hough said the matter would be investigated. He added that he had received more than one report of irregularities with postal voting.

"We have received more than one complaint in Derby and we will be making some inquiries in relation to postal votes," he said.

Councillor Harvey Jennings, leader of the Conservative group in Derby, said: "I am aware that a serious complaint has been made to the police with regards to three men intimidating a resident in Sinfin into ensuring that postal vote forms were completed in favour of the Labour party.

"It is quite shocking and I trust that the police will conduct a thorough investigation.

"I would urge any resident across the city who feels they have been put under duress to complete their vote in favour of any particular party to come forward and make a complaint to the police, as this is a practice that we do not condone.

"I have written to the leader of the local Labour Group asking him to confirm that members of his party locally are not engaged in this activity."

Chris Williamson, leader of the Labour group in Derby, said he did not think members of his group would be involved in such activities but added: "It is now a matter for the police."

Liberal Democrat leader, Hilary Jones, said she had heard rumours about it but that her group had pledged not to be involved in any such activities.

The letter of complaint was sent to the police by Philip Hickson, election agent for the local Conservative group.

He said: "The candidate for Sinfin came to me with what I considered to be serious electoral irregularities to do with postal voting. I just took the information and passed it on to the police and to Michael Foote at Derby City Council as the returning officer, as this is clearly a matter for them."

Mr Foote confirmed: "I understand a letter has been sent to the police for them to investigate.

"The proper course is for them now to carry out that investigation."

This is Derbyshire

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