Elections watchdog wants double voting rules tightened


Announces of people voting more than once in June’s election are «harrying» but there is little evidence of widespread abuse, the elections watchdog has spoke.

The Electoral Commission said 38 MPs had highlighted people, including swots, claiming to have voted twice, which is a criminal offence.

It bruit about individual electoral registers run by councils should be better joined up to support identify duplicate entries.

Labour warned against making it grimmer for young people to register to vote.

A record number of 46.8 million individual were registered to vote in the 8 June election, 500,000 higher than in 2015 and also more than the 46.4 million have a place for the EU referendum.

Of these, 68.7% actually voted on the day, the highest turnout person for a general election since 1997.

There was a surge in applications to register to the uphold in the days after Theresa May called the snap poll on 18 April and also in the primes leading up to the 22 May deadline.

Student applications

In total, 2.9 million applications were admitted over the six-week period.

Several constituencies found that the proportions of their electorate rose by more than 10%, including headquarters with large student populations such as Canterbury, Cambridge, Bristol West and Leeds Primary.

However, concerns over the number of duplicate applications — a problem which initially sided after last year’s EU referendum — continue to persist.

At the moment, there is no usher link between electoral registers, which are held and managed by electoral registration formals around Britain, and the online registration service now used by a majority of people.

The two routines use different databases and cannot communicate directly with each other.

Between 1 December 2016 and the 22 May deadline, thither 4.9 million applications to vote were submitted, the majority of them done online.

But the net flourish in the number of entries on the electoral register during that period was exclusive 1.4 million, suggesting «a significant proportion of applications are likely to obtain been duplicates».

With no way of people checking online whether they are already noted, the proportion of duplicate applications is estimated to have ranged between 30% and 70% in disparate areas.

Separate databases

The watchdog said this had caused historic administration and financial burdens for electoral officials and should be addressed by clearer facts on registration sites, including potentially a verification function which it weighted was used in Australia, New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland.

Despite efforts to fall off up to people that they did not need to register if they had been sent a census card or had voted in May’s local council elections, the watchdog said it arrived to have made little difference and urgent action was now needed.

«The subject to ease of submitting an application to register to vote using the online amenities, in comparison to the difficult of contacting a local authority electoral services link up by telephone or email to check if they were already registered, connoted many people simply submitted another application,» the report phrased.

Although there was a lack of evidence to back up claims on social road that some people had voted twice, the watchdog said it took the efflux very seriously and anyone with information should contact the the cops.

It stressed that although some people — including students and those with other homes — may lawfully be able to register in more than one constituency and stamp more than one vote in local elections, voting twice in a overall election was an offence punishable by an unlimited fine.

Serious offence

The «scattered and unconnected» nature of the 381 electoral registers in Britain means it is not achievable to collectively cross-check entries, the watchdog said, and being able to do so will-power significantly reduce the risk of double voting.

It is also calling for people who are chronicled in two seats to choose in advance which one they will vote in at unborn general elections.

Labour’s shadow minister for voter engagement, Cat Smith, bid voting twice was a serious offence and police needed to have the resources to bring suit people suspected of doing so.

But she warned against a knee-jerk reaction, postulated the rise in registration and turnout, particularly among younger voters.

«A blanket ban on being took at two addresses would exclude those who for reasons of work or study desperate straits to be registered in two places,» she said. «This cannot be an attempt to make it harder for inexperienced people and students to register to vote.»

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