Elections, voting and electoral fraud: an exploratory study focusing on British Pakistanis and Bangladeshis

Document type
Report
Author(s)
Gill, Valdeep; Jago, Natalie; Husain, Fatima
Publisher
NatCen Social Research
Date of publication
26 January 2015
Subject(s)
Minority Groups, Social Policy
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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This qualitative research explored electoral fraud vulnerabilities within British Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities in order to provide a greater understanding of possible links between electoral fraud and any specific geographic, cultural and demographic factors. The intent was also to gather suggestions for improvements to make voting safer from electoral fraud.

A qualitative case study of eight electoral wards across England with a large British Pakistani or Bangladeshi population was conducted. Four areas had a recent history of allegations or convictions of electoral fraud (referred to as ‘Higher Risk’ areas). Each of these was paired with a comparator area with similar population characteristics but no electoral fraud allegations or convictions (referred to as ‘Comparator’ areas). In-depth interviews and group discussions were conducted in each area.

The study findings suggest a complex intertwining of contextual, cultural, and practical electoral process factors that can create vulnerabilities to electoral fraud. Perceived pressure and feelings of obligation to vote a particular way, due to the influence of community networks or prominent individuals within a community; combined with individual factors, such as age, gender, an illness or disability, literacy levels or a lack of knowledge of the electoral process could exacerbate vulnerabilities. It was the interaction of these factors, alongside perceived weaknesses in the election and voting process, with particular reference to some aspects of the postal voting process, which appeared to generate the greatest risk of electoral fraud.

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