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Your vote is yours alone

Published: Thursday, 18th April 2019

If you’ve chosen to vote by post in this year’s elections, Pendle Council has some advice on keeping your postal vote safe.

Anyone who has requested a postal vote for this year’s borough, town and parish council elections on 2 May should receive it by 23 April.

And the Council is keen to remind postal voters that voting is something that you do yourself and in secret and it should not be shared with others, even members of your family.

Philip Mousdale, Corporate Director and Returning Officer, said: “The impact of electoral fraud on voters can be significant.

“It can take away your right to vote as you want – whether through intimidation, bribery or by impersonating someone and casting your vote.

“We’ve had reports that people are knocking on doors and telling voters that they’re from Pendle Council. They’re requesting their postal vote ballot papers stating that there’s something wrong with them.

“Please do not hand over your ballot papers - there is nothing wrong with them. Please complete them yourself and post them back to us as soon as possible.

“As part of the Voter ID pilot, Pendle Council staff are hand delivering postal vote packs over the coming days. They will wear ID badges and will not be taking away any ballot papers.”

Keep your postal vote safe by following some simple rules.

When you get your postal voting papers, deal with them straight away. Don’t leave them where someone else can find them, and don’t let anyone else handle them.

When you’re ready to vote:

  • complete your ballot paper in secret, on your own
  • don’t let anyone else vote for you or see your vote
  • don’t give your ballot paper to anyone else.

When returning your postal vote, post it yourself if possible. If you need to ask someone to post it for you, make sure you only give it to someone you know and trust.

Philip added: “Unfortunately, on rare occasions, some people may try to manipulate our electoral system and commit electoral fraud.

“Many people may not be aware that their actions constitute a crime.

“Election fraud is a serious offence and we already have anti-fraud measures in place in Pendle.

“Candidates and agents from all political parties in Pendle have signed a code agreeing to certain standards of practice around the elections.

“If anyone tries to help you against your will, or forces you to give them your postal vote, you must tell us by calling (01282) 661919 or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers.

“You can do this by calling 0800 555 111 or by completing an online form – www.crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information

Pendle Council is one of 10 councils taking part in a voter ID pilot which means that anyone who lives in the borough and votes in person needs to show photo ID at the polling station on 2 May.

The pilot will also look at ways of tackling fraudulent behaviour in relation to postal voting.

Random checks will be carried out to ensure that postal voters did apply and vote themselves and there was no fraud or undue pressure put on them.

This will be done by hand delivering a percentage of postal vote packs and contacting voters in person.

For more information about this year’s elections visit www.pendle.gov.uk/voterID