To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps her Department takes to prevent coercion and intimidation being used in postal voting.
We have inserted new secrecy warnings on postal voting papers to deter any unlawful attempts to influence another person's vote.
The Electoral Administration Act 2006 strengthens the existing offence of undue influence to cover both successful and unsuccessful attempts at exerting undue influence on another voter. This should make it easier to secure conviction where there is evidence of intimidation.
More generally, the Government have fully supported the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Electoral Commission in the development of guidance for police officers to raise awareness of electoral fraud issues. ACPO and the Electoral Commission have issued jointly updated guidance on fraud prevention and detection at the May 2007 elections. The guidance sets out the main electoral offences—including the offence of undue influence—and suggests appropriate police action in response to any allegations of fraud or impropriety that are made.