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Man admits voting twice against Chingford and Woodford Green’s Iain Duncan Smith during general election

PUBLISHED: 13:51 18 December 2017

A ballot box. Photo: PA

A ballot box. Photo: PA

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A 21-year-old man has pleaded guilty to breaking electoral law by voting for Labour twice in Iain Duncan Smith’s Chingford and Woodford Green constituency during last year’s general election.

Mohammad Zain Qureshi, 21, of Harold Road, Waltham Forest, appeared at Thames Magistrates Court today (December 18), where he pleaded guilty to the offence, contrary to section 61 of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

Qureshi voted twice in the election after he was registered twice at his home address with a minor variance of his name.

Following the election, an allegation was reported to police in relation to a social media post by an unknown person on Twitter.

The Twitter user openly declared on polling day that they had voted twice for the Labour Party, once by postal vote and a second time in person at the polling station.

The general election saw Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith’s majority fall from 8,386 votes in 2015 to 2,440 votes this year.

Following enquiries by officers from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Special Enquiry Team, Qureshi was identified. He was interviewed on August 22 in connection with the allegation and subsequently charged with the offence.

As a result of his guilty plea, Qureshi was fined £150.00, was ordered to pay £200.00 towards prosecution costs and also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £30.00.

In addition to the court sentence, he is not capable of being registered as an elector or voting at any government elections in the UK, nor permitted to being elected to the House of Commons or holding any such elected office for a period of three years.

DI Gail Granville of the Special Enquiry Team said: “This result demonstrates the Met’s commitment to ensuring free and fair elections for all of our communities. In this year’s election the team received over 70 allegations of electoral malpractice across many of the London boroughs.

“The majority of those do not constitute an offence; however in this case a thorough investigation has led to today’s successful conviction.

“In the run up to the local and mayoral elections in May 2018 we will continue to work closely with the CPS, the Electoral Commission and local authorities across London in a proactive and preventative capacity to protect the integrity of the electoral process in London.

We would encourage anyone who wishes to report an electoral offence to email the Special Enquiry Team (SETelections@met.pnn.police.uk) or contact their local police or call 101.”

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