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
- ballot stuffing
- misrecording of votes
- misuse of postal or proxy votes
- destruction or invalidation of ballot papers
Further information and guidance about electoral fraud is available on the Electoral Commission website.
How to report election fraud
If you are suspicious or worried about anything to do with voting and elections you can report it by clicking on the green button which will take you through to an online form.
If you believe an offence is taking place immediately you can call 999.
Protecting your vote
There are simple steps you can take in order 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.
The video below is a guide to the rules around postal voting.
Voting at polling stations
The video below is a guide to the rules around voting at a polling station.
Please note: If you would like these guides in another language, please email electoral.services@
During 2016, police forces across the UK recorded a total of 260 alleged electoral fraud allegations. This resulted in 2 convictions and 6 people being cautioned.
Independent charity Crimestoppers and the Electoral Commission have been working together since 2015 when they joined forces to raise public awareness and encourage people to report their suspicions at the General Election.
You can find out more on the crimestoppers website.