More election fraud claims – and the TV show which set up a fake polling station

In the London Borough of Camden, Hat Trick productions ran into hot water after setting up a spoof but official looking polling station immediately outside a real polling station, encouraging members of the public into coming to vote before revealing to them that the polling station was part of a prank for a political satire show.

Hat Trick also sent someone out door knocking, claiming to be a Liberal Democrat activist but really setting people up for more spoofs, to be caught on a hidden camera.

One Liberal Democrat supporter was called on at home by the fake Liberal Democrat activist, who had a supply of Tory leaflets and said they had been ordered by Lib Dem HQ to hand them out. Cue outrage and anger from the party supporter. They were then called on by someone from Hat Trick, who revealed it had been a stunt and asked the person to sign a release form to permit secretly filmed footage to be used in a forthcoming TV show.

The fake polling station and the door knocking were discontinued after both the police and local council election officials were contacted.

Meanwhile, in Peterborough:

THE four people arrested on suspicion of electoral malpractice offences in the run up to Thursday’s Peterborough City Council elections have been bailed.

Police made three arrests on election day, added to the one arrest made on Wednesday, all of which were in Central Ward.

There is some history to all this:

The main focus for police was on the Central Ward, which over the years has seen a number of incidences of alleged electoral malpractice.

This follows the high-profile convictions of several men, including Peterborough’s first Asian mayor Mohammed Choudhary and another former mayor Raja Akhtar, in 2007 and 2008 for fraudulently attempting to win Town Hall seats in the 2004 election.

In another area with a troubled electoral fraud history – Tower Hamlets – the allegations rumble on:

Four separate news organisations – the Telegraph, the Evening Standard, the BBC and City AM – have found evidence of postal vote harvesting, ghost voters, personation, or all of the above, in Tower Hamlets.

Invalid votes being counted may have been the problem there, but in Glasgow it was a case of valid votes being ignored:

The result of a Glasgow council ward could be in doubt after it emerged that a ballot box was not counted during last week’s local government elections.

The Battlefield Primary polling station box was wrongly registered as having no votes for the Langside ward.

Glasgow City Council is seeking court approval to look at the votes. If they impact on the results, more court approval is needed to re-run the count.

Finally, in Dewsbury:

OUTGOING Tory councillor Khizar Iqbal has blamed his sensational loss on electoral fraud … He said: “Suddenly within 30 days prior to the close of registration for postal voting there was a surge where 300 to 400 votes were switched from a normal vote to a postal vote”.

GLASGOW UPDATE: “There is no change to the result of a Glasgow City Council ward after votes were recalculated to include a ballot box that was not counted” (BBC).

 

* Mark Pack has written 101 Ways To Win An Election and produces a monthly newsletter about the Liberal Democrats.

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This entry was posted in Election law, Local government and News.
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4 Comments

  • Do Hat Trick have a legal advisor on Election Law? Obviously not. Words fail me.

  • Andrew Suffield 11th May '12 - 11:42pm

    Yeah, I’m fairly sure that satire is not a legitimate defence against charges under the representation of the people act.

  • it should very clear and new legislation must be put in place asap regarding election fraud (voting) i personally believe no i.d no vote, and postal votes should be only given to registered disable people, and double check of those voters who do not exist in the uk or are away or out of the country, till we do not take these positive actions this matter will never be resloved, i believe this should be a top lib dem priorty.

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