POLICE were yesterday asked to investigate “serious abuses of the electoral register” in a London borough, raising fears of voter fraud ahead of next week’s mayoral election.
The probe was sparked after six Labour councillors in Tower Hamlets wrote to the Electoral Commission, highlighting “gross voting malpractice” and the “unprecedented number of households that have recently signed up for postal votes”.
A second letter sent to the Commission by Conservative councilor Peter Golds – seen exclusively by City A.M. – lists numerous concerns regarding unusual voter registration patterns in the Spitalfields area.
Golds cites last week’s council byelection in the borough where 119 out of 956 postal votes were rejected because the signature or date of birth on the ballot paper did not match details on the electoral register.
He also highlights one block of flats where the number of registered postal voters has increased from 17 to 68 during the last three years.
Golds goes on to claim that there is also a problem with “ongoing voter intimidation” at polling stations, citing a recent election where it “was absolutely impossible to walk to the polling station without forcing a way through a mob”.
“The police should take action to allow voters to approach a polling station without this aggression and intimidation which is now a prevailing aspect of elections in this borough.”
With the mayoral election set to go to the wire there are concerns that significant levels of voter fraud could sway the result.
Last night Golds said: “I would hate the mayoral election to be decided by votes in Tower Hamlets.” Tower Hamlets council say that they have conducted a thorough pre-election survey, removing 890 names from the electoral register in recent weeks.