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Former council leader: 'There's no way to tell the scope of voting fraud'

A former leader of Slough Borough Council has warned that electoral fraud in the borough could be more common than perceived.

Cllr Rob Anderson (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) was commenting after the council leadership’s decision last month to withdraw from a Government-funded voter ID pilot scheme.

“The thing about election fraud is you can say there’s no cases because nothing’s been uncovered,” said Cllr Anderson.

“You can’t prove a negative.

“Just because you haven’t found any doesn’t mean it’s not happening,” he said.

Supporters of the Labour group’s motion to withdraw say people of ethnic minorities and or on low income are less likely to have photo ID. They also say voter ID will not stop certain frauds, like registration fraud.

But Cllr Anderson, who abstained from voting, says there is still a great risk in not having voter ID.

He said: “You have to show more ID to borrow a library book than cast a ballot.

“There’s absolutely no way to tell what the scope of it is. It’s one of those great unknowns.”

He said that in Chalvey in about 2004, 100 people were struck off the voting register.

He referred to a practice where people were registered to properties where they did not live with the aim of turning up on the day to vote.

He said there was a case in Slough’s central ward where fake identities were attached to multiple occupancy houses.

Since digitisation, it is harder to create ‘bogus’ people, but there is still a real risk of people impersonating others, he said.

He added in Northern Ireland, where people sometimes bowed to sectarian pressure and gave their votes to others, voter ID made a dramatic difference.

On British voting, he said: “The system worked for 100 years when there was a gentleman’s agreement when everyone played nicely.

“Since around 2000 it’s changed."

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