Running electoral registration - Wales

Identifying suspicious registration applications

You are uniquely placed to identify incidents and patterns of activity that might indicate electoral fraud in your local area. Applications for registration do not have to be taken at face value – you have the option of taking any application to a hearing. You can also require additional evidence where necessary to verify identity, or to determine an applicant’s entitlement to register.

Although there are no definitive signs of possible electoral registration fraud, and each specific case will be different, you should ensure that you have mechanisms in place to monitor indicators of possible fraud. These indicators and any trigger points for further action will need to be informed by: 

  • the context of your local area 
  • whether they are consistent or inconsistent with any other data available to you 
  • the specific circumstances surrounding an application or applications

The following could, depending on the context, be indicators of possible fraud:

  • any number of registration application forms completed in the same hand
  • large numbers of registration applications submitted in respect of a single property, particularly where the number of forms does not reflect the type or size of the property (e.g. 10 applications for a small flat)
  • applications which do not appear to match the usual pattern of previous or existing registrations at a particular property
  • unusual number of applications failing verification, for example, if all applications from a property or neighbouring properties fail verification
  • large numbers of attestations in any particular area
  • information from the IER Digital Service on: 
    • whether the National Insurance number supplied with an application has been given in any other applications in the previous 12 months and in which local authority areas
    • the originating IP address for each online application

You should put in place mechanisms that will help you to identify suspicious registration applications including:

  • training for canvassers and office staff on what to look out for
  • review returns data regularly to identify patterns
  • consider how best to share data about patterns of registration applications with local political parties and elected representatives, to improve transparency and confidence, and so that they can help identify any specific register entries which might be suspicious

Working with your local police Single Point of Contact (SPOC) 

Your local police SPOC is a key partner in ensuring that possible instances of registration fraud are quickly identified and dealt with.

Prompt action to address possible electoral registration fraud could help avoid costly police investigations or legal challenges to the results of elections. 

Make sure you know who your SPOC is and how to contact them. If you have any problems establishing contact with your SPOC, please contact your local Commission team.

You should have an agreement in place with your SPOC outlining the division of responsibilities, so that there is clarity about each other’s roles.

Your early discussions should cover:

  • processes for identifying possible fraud and what actions should be taken where any suspicions arise
  • an agreed approach for referring allegations of fraud for further investigation where appropriate
  • establishing a process for handling evidence, so that the police can carry out any forensic analysis

Documentation that you would need to provide to the police for their investigation is likely to include:

  • all papers received (including envelopes), sealed in a packet or envelope
  • copies of the internal documents used to conduct internal checks (e.g. council tax records)

You should also agree a mechanism for handling evidence, following advice from your SPOC, so that the police can carry out any forensic analysis, where necessary.

The police will investigate any allegations of fraudulent electoral registration until, following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or the Crown Office, either they are satisfied that no further action is necessary or appropriate, or they forward the case file to the CPS for prosecution. The police should keep you, and where appropriate the RO, informed of the progress of the case.

Last updated: 15 October 2020