Voting and elections

Electoral fraud

Electoral fraud in the UK is very rare, however, we want to ensure Liverpool's voters trust the outcome of local elections. Find out more about electoral fraud and what you can do to help.

What is electoral fraud?

The Electoral Commission publishes annual reports on electoral fraud. This data shows that a very small number of people try to cheat the system and the law provides a range of criminal offences to protect each stage of the democratic process.

As a council, we do not have powers to investigate or prosecute allegations of electoral offences but we work closely with the Police who do. The key areas of risk are outlined below.

False registration of electors

Everyone must only register to vote at their main address. There are some exceptions such as students who are eligible to register at both their home and term-time address.

It is an offence to:

  • register to vote at a false address - such as a flat you may own or rent out that is not your home
  • register at more than one address - for instance, if you own multiple properties
  • fail to register at your address - after you have moved, for instance

Postal voting offences

No-one has a right to see your postal vote or know how you voted. You should complete it in private, seal it in the envelope and post it yourself. It is an offence to:

  • make a false postal vote application for another voter
  • take or steal another person’s postal vote or postal vote pack
  • complete another person’s postal vote or tell them how to vote

Watch the video - Protecting your postal vote:

Election campaigning and voting offences

These criminal offences include:

  • Bribery - campaigners or their supporters must not give money or offer gifts to persuade you to vote a particular way.
  • 'Treating' - campaigners or their supporters cannot directly or indirectly give or provide food, drink or entertainment in order to influence a voter.
  • Intimidation - campaigners or their supporters cannot use undue influence or intimidation of any kind, to influence the way you vote.
  • Multiple voting - no-one should vote or attempt to vote, more than once in the same election. This applies to both voting in person and by post.
  • Impersonation - you must not vote or attempt to vote as someone else, even if you know that person is away and how they would have voted. This applies to both voting in person and by post.

Watch the video - Protecting your vote at a polling station:

Expenses rules

Candidates and agents must comply with strict rules about the amount they can spend on an election and what it can be spent on. View more information on expenses rules on the Electoral Commission website.

What do we do to combat electoral fraud?

As a council, we do not have powers to investigate or prosecute allegations of electoral offences but we work closely with the Police who investigate most allegations of electoral fraud.

We also undertake regular reviews of the electoral register for any unusual activity or entries and check registrations at individual properties, in addition to the annual canvass. On election day, we work closely with the Police to prevent election crime.

What can you do to combat electoral fraud?

To report any concerns about electoral fraud, you can:

If you witness an electoral offence, such as intimidation of voters, please call 999.