A number of constituents have been in touch with me following the announcement in the Queen’s Speech that legislation will be introduced to require voters to show photographic identification at polling stations in future elections. (The requirement does not apply to this election.) Many say electoral corruption is not a widespread problem or that requiring voter ID is too draconian a measure. I completely disagree.
Most law-abiding citizens in the Wycombe constituency would be shocked if they knew the extent of corrupt election practices and voter fraud which happen each time there is an election.
I know of people who register to vote at different addresses in the town and then vote in the same election more than once in person and by postal vote.
I have heard accounts of candidates visiting electors’ homes and demanding postal votes are completed in front of them and then taken away.
I have testimony of one young woman’s unmarked postal vote being taken off her under duress by a relative and handed to a candidate.
There are instances of people impersonating others and voting at polling stations in their place.
It seems the price of a vote in some parts of Wycombe is £10, a free taxi ride or a free pizza. This simply cannot go on.
When I have had sufficient proof, I have raised these issues with the Police, with Wycombe District Council’s Election Services Team, with the Returning Officer, with the Electoral Commission and with ministers in the Cabinet Office. I have also applied for a debate to take place in Parliament on this subject a number of times and I hope still to have it. I am pleased that, at last, sufficient might be done to stop such practices under a majority Conservative government.
The public deserves to have confidence in our democracy. We must stamp out this corruption.
The Electoral Commission oversees the conduct of elections in this country and it is independent of Government. The Electoral Commission has trialled various pilot schemes in different parts of the country to uphold the integrity of the ballot. The Commission’s evaluation of the pilots found the voter ID requirement had a positive impact on people’s perceptions of the security of the polling station process.
I appreciate not everyone has a passport or driving licence and I agree with the Government’s proposal these electors should be able to obtain a free document proving their identity.
If I am re-elected, I will be voting for this legislation proudly when it comes before Parliament. Corrupt election practices must be stamped out. I am challenging every candidate in Wycombe to join me in upholding the integrity of the election.