Electoral Fraud

Oral Answers to Questions — Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th March 2018.

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Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp Conservative, Croydon South 12:00 am, 28th March 2018

What steps the Government are taking to tackle electoral fraud.

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Assistant Whip

Electoral fraud is unacceptable at any level, and vulnerabilities cannot be allowed to continue to undermine the integrity of our democracy, so the Cabinet Office is working with five local authorities to pilot voter identification and with three others to pilot measures to improve the integrity of the postal and proxy vote processes.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp Conservative, Croydon South

What efforts are being made to cross-reference the electoral roll with the immigration and nationality database to ensure that only people with eligible nationalities appear on the electoral roll and can therefore vote?

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Assistant Whip

We entrust electoral registration officers to do that task, and we think it is very important that they do so. Electoral registration officers have the ability to make nationality checks where they believe it is appropriate. Indeed, this House also recently agreed to changes to the registration forms to emphasise to would-be voters that such checks will be made, and we think that is important.

Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs

Over 40 leading charities and academics have written to the Minister expressing their concern that these voter ID pilot areas have failed to carry out equality impact assessments adequately. Most participating authorities have identified negative impacts on various groups, such as people with disabilities, Asian and black communities and Travellers, but astonishingly Bromley Borough Council claims the pilot will have no impact on any of those groups. Why is the Minister allowing these pilots to proceed on the basis of such clearly inadequate equality impact assessments?

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Assistant Whip

These pilots are, in fact, very important. They allow us, as a country, to begin to be sure that the people voting in any given election are eligible to do so. I continue to be disappointed that the Labour party seems to think that that is not necessary. Each local authority involved in these pilots has clear plans, first, to be able to communicate with voters to instruct them on what to do on the day and, secondly, to help anybody who might find themselves unable to produce the required ID. Nobody will be left behind in these pilots.