WARNING: Don’t become a victim of fraud this referendum

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Charity Crimestoppers and the Electoral Commission have issued a warning to Nottinghamshire residents urging voters not to stand for electoral fraud, in the run up to the EU referendum.

The country will take to the polls on Thursday but a new partnership campaign between the two agencies wants to educate the public about the signs of fraud, and to encourage them to report anything that may be an offence.

Mark Hallas, CEO of Crimestoppers, said: “The first campaign that we ran this year in the lead up to local elections proved very successful in terms of engagement and generating information from the public.

“While this is a relatively small scale problem, it is a serious issue nonetheless and voters across the UK have a right to vote whichever way they wish to, with the confidence their vote hasn’t been compromised.

“The purpose once again of this appeal is to tell people about the types of electoral fraud that exist, but also assure them that in Crimestoppers they have a safe and anonymous way to give information to a charity dedicated to tackling crime. We are helping the public to know what electoral fraud looks like and any information they give us, will be acted on.”

Electoral fraud offences include:

· Pretending to be someone else to use their vote (personation)

· False application to register to vote

· False application for proxy or postal vote

· Tampering with ballot papers or postal ballot packs.

· Influencing voters through intimidation or threats

· Influencing voters through bribery or ‘treating’ with gifts

· Failing to mark election material with the details of the printer responsible

· Making false statements about each side

· Allegations against Returning Officers and staff.

The Electoral Commission and Crimestoppers have been working together since May 2015; when they first joined together to raise awareness of electoral fraud leading up to the general election.

Tom Hawthorn, Head of Policy for the Electoral Commission, said

“It’s important that voters have confidence in the voting process. Proven cases of electoral fraud remain relatively rare across the UK, but we shouldn’t underestimate the impact that fraud can have. We know from our work that it is campaigners, candidates and their supporters who commit electoral fraud and voters who are the victims.”

Voters can help us to tackle electoral fraud by reporting it if they see it – either to the police, or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via their anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org