Electoral Register: Fraud

Electoral Commission Committee written question – answered on 25th February 2014.

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Photo of Chris Ruane Chris Ruane Labour, Vale of Clwyd

To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the accuracy and fairness of media coverage of electoral registration fraud.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

The Commission informs me that it has made no formal assessment of the accuracy and fairness of media coverage of electoral registration fraud.

The Commission does believe that the media can play an important role in drawing attention to potential incidences of electoral fraud. It has, however, noted in its recent electoral fraud vulnerabilities review that

“poorly-founded media reporting can present a distorted image and, through the sensationalisation of cases, may simply heighten public concern.”

The Commission informs me that its qualitative research undertaken as part of its electoral fraud vulnerabilities review found that the media and second hand information passed on by word of mouth (often based on media stories) were key sources of information for people about electoral fraud. People who thought fraud was a 'very big' or 'fairly big' problem were more likely to have seen stories in the media than those that didn't think it was a problem (49% compared with 32%).

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