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Key electoral offences

There are number of electoral offences specified in the Representation of the People Act 1983 and the key offences are listed below.  For a full list, please refer to the appropriate legislation.

Undue influence:  Where an individual, directly or indirectly, makes use of or threatens to make use of force, violence or restraint; or inflicts or threatens to inflict injury, damage or harm in order to induce or compel any voter to vote or refrain from voting.  This offence has been modified by the Electoral Administration Act to extend the effect of it to include intention and not just where an act has taken place.  A person may be guilty of undue influence if they impede or prevent, or intend to impede or prevent, the free exercise of the franchise of an elector.

Bribery:  Where any individual, directly or indirectly, gives any money or procedures any office to of for any voter, in order to induce any voter to vote or not to vote for a particular candidate, or to vote or refrain from voting.

Treating:  Where either before, during or after an election, any person, directly or indirectly, gives or provides (or pays wholly or in part the expense of giving or providing) any food, drink, entertainment or provision in order to influence corruptly any voter to vote or refrain from voting.

Personation:  Where any individual votes as someone else (whether that other person is living or dead or is a fictitious person), either by post or in person at a polling station as an elector or proxy.  Further, the individual voting can be deemed guilty of personation if they vote on behalf of a person they have reasonable grounds for supposing is dead or fictitious, or where they have reasonable grounds for supposing the proxy appointment is no longer in force.

Postal and proxy voting:  Where an individual applies for a postal or proxy vote as some other person, otherwise makes a false statement in connection with an application for a postal or proxy vote, includes an Electoral Registration Officer or a Returning Officer to send a postal vote or associated communication to an address which has not been agreed by the person entitled to vote, or causes a postal or proxy voting communication not to be delivered to the intended recipient.

False information in nomination papers:  Where a person gives false information in a nomination paper or in their consent to nomination, they are guilty of a corrupt practice.

False information in relation to registration:  Where an individual, for any purpose in connection with the registration of electors, provides false information to the Electoral Registration Officer in connection with the registration of electors, that person is guilty of offence.

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