Saturday, September 18, 2010

Two ex-councillors jailed for Bradford postal votes fraud

FIVE Bradford men, including two former councillors, were jailed earlier this week for their parts in a failed postal votes scam aimed at getting a Conservative Party candidate elected in the 2005 general election.

A judge heard that a newspaper investigation and police inquiry unearthed a plot to try to get Tory candidate Haroon Rashid elected in the marginal Bradford West seat using hundreds of fraudulent postal vote applications.

Leeds Crown Court was told detectives examined about 900 suspicious forms - many from people who did not exist or had no idea an application had been made on their behalf.

The plot was foiled before the conspirators had the chance to convert the applications into votes and, in the end, Mr Rashid was defeated by sitting Labour MP Marsha Singh who won with a majority of more than 3,000.

Prosecutors said that if the press had not intervened in May 2005, "the plan may well have been successful".

Simon Orme, of the Crown Prosecution Service special crime division, said: "The Crown Prosecution Service takes electoral fraud very seriously indeed. These offences not only attack democracy, but they also have the potential to undermine the public's perception of, and
confidence in, the democratic system in this country."

[From The Yorkshire Post]
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