Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mayor Voter Fraud Fears

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Mayor Voter Fraud Fears

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Harper and Simon Freeman

EXCLUSIVE THE Evening Standard today exposes fears of voter fraud in London 10 weeks before a mayoral election which is set to be the tightest ever.

Dozens of flats in a key borough are holding up to eight people per bedroom, according to the electoral register. Tenants in Tower Hamlets said it was "impossible" for so many residents to share one property and some admitted they had never heard of their apparent flatmates.

In one case, 12 adults are still listed as voters at a three-bedroom flat in Mile End despite having moved out about four months before officials Continued on Page 4

Continued from Page 1 gathered data for the register. It raises the spectre of new electoral fraud in a borough plagued by claims of ballotrigging.

Director of LSE London Tony Travers said: "This does not look good. Tower Hamlets need to conduct an urgent official investigation -- particularly with a very tightly-fought London election only a few months away. The contest could be decided on a tiny number of votes and a disputed result is the last thing we need. Electoral fraud always matters but when the race is this close it matters more."

Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone today face the first hustings in the race for City Hall.

Town hall records for Tower Hamlets show a total of 64 properties in the borough are registered to 550 voters -- an average of three people per bedroom.

According to up-to-date town hall records, there are 12 people sharing one top-floor flat, which has only one bathroom. When the Standard visited the flat, the six tenants, from Spain and Italy, expressed disbelief that a dozen adults could live there.

One tenant who moved in last week, said: "Twelve people? No way, it's crazy. One of the current guys had a friend staying to visit and seven is already a squeeze." When questioned by the Standard, the letting agent for the property admitted only "three or four" of the tenants listed on the elec-toral register had signed a contract for the flat. Abdul Shahid of E1UK said: "There were never 12 people. It's not possible."

Residents in other properties approached by the Standard admitted some of those registered were family members who "lived elsewhere". …

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