Urgent action needed to prevent abuse and intimidation of candidates at elections
The Electoral Commission has said that 40% of election candidates at the May local elections in Wales reported experiencing abuse, threatening behaviour and intimidation.
Reports published by the Electoral Commission today look at the delivery of elections across the UK in May, and how voter and campaigners found taking part. Findings reveal:
Four in 10 candidates reported experiencing problems with intimidation in elections in Wales (40%), Scotland (44%) and England (40%)
Most abuse was verbal or experienced online and from members of the public or anonymous sources
While public confidence in elections remains high, and campaigners reported that they felt able to communicate effectively with voters, the reports reflect the challenges faced by campaigners as well as by those running elections.
Craig Westwood, the Electoral Commission’s Director of Communications, Policy and Research said: “Urgent action is needed to prevent the abuse and intimidation of candidates and campaigners at elections.”
“It is vital that candidates can participate in elections without fear.”
“The Commission will work with governments and the wider electoral community to make sure we understand what is driving this issue, and address it as a matter of urgency.”
The Elections Act, passed earlier this year, introduces a new electoral sanction for those found guilty of intimidating candidates, campaigners and elected representatives.
Banning someone from standing for elected office, as well as imposing criminal sanctions, such as a prison sentence or fine, will strengthen the deterrent against this intimidating behaviour.
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