Election 2015

Election 2015: UKIP would limit demand for postal votes

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Voters will not have the right to a postal vote - unless they can prove they are housebound, UKIP has said.

The party would also scrap the Electoral Commission and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, claiming they have not done enough to prevent electoral fraud.

A total of 5.5m valid postal votes were received at the 2010 general election.

Postal ballots need to be received by 10pm on 7 May. They can also be handed in to polling stations on election day.

Postal voting is used by 15% of the electorate nationally - and voters do not have to give a reason why they want to vote this way.

'Voter intimidation'

But UKIP's manifesto says it "would restrict postal votes to those with a valid reason to have one".

A spokeswoman said: "We want to remove postal voting on demand and make sure people who have one have a valid reason, such as if you are housebound or genuinely can't get to a polling station.

"We believe postal voting has enabled a lot of electoral fraud. There have been countless incidents in various constituencies of voter intimidation, of more people being signed up to an address than actually live there.

"It's a system that is deeply flawed and has taken the transparency out of people going into the polling station, being checked and qualified for their vote.

"At the moment, anybody can opt in to have a postal vote and a lot of people do and it's being misused. Instead, under our plans you would apply to say: 'This is why I need to have a postal vote.'

"We know we'd get the backing of the general public - Tower Hamlets shows there are big issues in the way the postal vote is being misused."

'Start afresh'

Under UKIP plans, the Electoral Commission and IPSA would also be scrapped for not doing enough to make the system better, she said.

"We want to depoliticise it - start afresh to ensure we have transparency in the system," she said.

"We would merge their functions into a new political standards authority with a cross-party board of governance that would include voting members who are impartial and not tied into politics."

Still time

But a spokesman for the Electoral Commission said: "There have been changes to postal votes to make it more secure.

"Voters now have to provide a signature on two separate documents, which are then checked to make sure they match."

Individual electoral registration was introduced in June 2014 in England and Wales, and September 2014 in Scotland. To register, voters have their identity verified by providing a date of birth and national insurance number.

The deadline to apply to vote by post for the 7 May election was 5pm on 21 April.

However, postal voters can also hand in their ballot papers at their local Electoral Registration Office or polling station by 22:00 BST on polling day if they miss the post.

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