A man has been arrested on suspicion of impersonating a voter during elections in Cannock Chase.
He allegedly cast a vote in another person’s name at the Staffordshire County Council and European Parliament elections last Thursday. Two hours later the real voter arrived at the polling station to cast his vote, which raised the alarm with election officials.
On Thursday night as the votes were being counted at Cannock Chase Leisure Centre, the man was recognised wearing a BNP rosette. He was taken out of the count and arrested. He was then questioned by police and bailed.
The incident was described as “deeply concerning” by district council leader Neil Stanley. Councillor Stanley, whose Liberal Democrats were beaten into fourth place in Etchinghill Ward, Rugeley, added: “I will be speaking to the council chief executive and returning officer, Stephen Brown, to see if measures can be taken to reduce the likelihood of this happening again. This raises questions. It would be difficult to check the vote unless the council wrote to every voter to ask if they did actually vote.”
Mr Brown said: “I would like to thank the presiding officer, whose vigilance ensured that this alleged fraud was swiftly brought to the attention of the police. During the county and European elections on Thursday the man allegedly cast a vote in another voter’s name. This came to light when the real voter arrived at the polling station. We want every voter to be confident that their vote is safe and secure.”
Emma Stanley, spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: “Officers attended Chase Leisure Centre in Cannock on Friday, where they arrested a 39-year-old man from Cannock on suspicion of impersonating a voter. He is currently on conditional bail until July 13.”
Simon Darby, West Midlands spokesman for the BNP, said: “If this is one of our chaps he will have to face court. We have just had two MEPs elected and beaten Labour in South Staffordshire, so we don’t really need to impersonate voters.”
Express and Star