A journalist who claims he cast his ballot twice in Britain’s EU referendum to expose “how lax the voting rules are” has been reported to police for alleged electoral fraud.
Charles Moore, the former Daily Telegraph editor, said he sought to expose security flaws in the voting system. Writing in the Spectator magazine, he said he was able to vote once in Sussex and a second time in London, where he spoiled his ballot.
“In Sussex, I went to the polling station early. I took my polling card, which is not compulsory, and asked the clerk what the significance of the barcode on it was,” Moore wrote.
“He had no idea, so presumably it has no security function (or the clerks are poorly trained). I voted to leave the European Union.
“Then I caught the train to London, where I went to my local polling station. There I presented my London polling card, unchallenged. I went into the booth and wrote on the ballot paper ‘I am spoiling my ballot because I have already voted. This second vote is my protest at how lax the voting rules are.’”
The Electoral Commission said it had been made aware of the article and had passed an allegation of electoral fraud to the Metropolitan Police.
A spokesperson told the Times there was no central database that listed the number of people registered to vote in two places, so it was “unlikely” that polling station staff would know if a voter had already cast their ballot in a different place earlier that day.
“Voting twice in a national poll, like the referendum, is ultimately a criminal offense,” she said.
“We are aware of this article and have highlighted it to the police for them to consider. It is for the police to decide whether to investigate individual cases.”
The watchdog said this was the fifth such allegation of voter fraud they had received following the EU referendum.
Like Moore, the commission has called for polling stations to use identity checks. In 2014, it conducted a review into electoral fraud after experts warned postal votes and impersonation were leaving the system open to fraud.
The body recommended, alongside voters showing ID, that those without a passport or driving licence could be issued with a “voter card.”
The Metropolitan Police said: “The Met received a referral by the Electoral Commission on August 17. The matter is currently subject to assessment by officers from the Met special enquiry team.”