Page last updated at 09:44 GMT, Monday, 21 September 2009 10:44 UK

Police investigating vote 'fraud'

Police have been called in to investigate suspicions of fraudulent postal voting in Birmingham.

The city council contacted police after systems in place to detect fraudulent voting picked up 387 suspicious ballot papers on Thursday.

The ballot was for a by-election in the Sparkhill ward which was won by Respect candidate Ali Shokat.

The papers were rejected as possible forgeries. West Midlands Police said they were aware of the matter.

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said computers are used to detect possible fraudulent signatures.

'Potential irregularities'

Signatures on the rejected ballot papers are then examined by council staff.

"With the volume that came through as rejected we contacted police," he said.

West Midlands Police said they had been made aware of potential irregularities with some postal votes.

"This investigation is being managed by the economic crime team of West Midlands Police and inquiries are on-going," a spokesman said.

The new system was installed following allegations of vote-rigging in ballots held in Birmingham in 2004.

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