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Electoral fraud

Electoral fraud is an illegal interference with the process of an election.

Acts of fraud tend to involve affecting vote counts to bring about a desired election outcome, whether by increasing the vote share of the favoured candidate, depressing the vote share of the rival candidates, or both. There are many different types of electoral fraud including:

  • Vote buying
  • Intimidation
  • Ballot stuffing
  • Misrecording of votes
  • Misuse of postal or proxy votes
  • Destruction or invalidation of ballot papers

Visit the Electoral Commission website for further information and guidance about electoral fraud.

How to report election fraud

If you are suspicious or worried about anything to do with voting and elections, you can:

  • Call 999 - if you believe an offence is taking place immediately - emergency option
  • Call 101 - non-emergency police contact
  • Call our election fraud hotline on 01733 452282
  • Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111
  • Report to us online by clicking the green button below which will take you through to our online form

Protecting your vote

There are simple steps you can take to prevent yourself falling prey to electoral fraud:

  • Keep poll cards and postal ballot packs safe at home, not allowing others to handle them at any time
  • If you arrive at the polling station and someone has voted in your name, notify the Presiding Officer
  • When filling in postal ballots, do so alone - do not allow anyone else to see you choice or cast it on your behalf
  • Put postal ballots into the envelope and seal it yourself
  • Under no circumstances give your postal ballot to anyone else before the envelope is sealed
  • If anyone tries to coerce or persuade you against your will or force you to give them your postal vote, contact the police

Postal voting

The video below is a guide to the rules around postal voting. 

Please watch in YouTube for more accessibility options. - opens in a new tab

Size: 473KBFile format: pdf

Voting at polling stations

The video below is a guide to the rules around voting at a polling station. 

Please watch in YouTube for more accessibility options. - opens in a new tab

Please note: If you would like these guides in another language, please email

How we work to prevent electoral fraud

Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire Constabulary are working closely to reduce the risk of electoral malpractice and to ensure voters have confidence in the run-up to the general election on 4 July 2024.

Peterborough's work to deter electoral malpractice has previously been recognised by the Electoral Commission and other national bodies. The city council and police are continuing this work with their electoral campaign this year.

At every election, the Returning Officer and the our Electoral Services Team carry out a number of checks and processes which have been developed over many years, with Cambridgeshire Constabulary, to prevent, detect and prosecute electoral offences. These include cross checking the signature and date of birth of every postal vote received, closely monitoring new applications to join the electoral register and verifying information provided.

If any postal votes cause concern, these are scrutinised and kept separate to other postal votes. They undergo the same stringent checks outlined above and if fraud is suspected, they are passed to the police for investigation.

In addition, the council is ensuring requirements set out in new legislation around postal vote returns are met. More information about this is available to view in this video which has been shared on the council's social media accounts.

Polling station staff are trained on electoral legislation and risks in their polling stations and are made aware of issues such as family voting, where family members try and coerce a relative into voting in a certain way, and that photography is not permitted in polling stations.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary has once again set up a dedicated team to work jointly with the council to investigate allegations of electoral malpractice. Police will investigate any reports of corrupt activity. Allegations will be treated seriously, and prosecutions will be brought if evidence of wrongdoing is uncovered. There will also be an increased police presence in the city on polling day.