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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 May, 2004, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Inquiry over suspected vote fraud
Detectives are investigating a suspected fraud in next month's local election after 16 postal vote forms were sent to an address in Birmingham.

The Elections Office was alerted after multiple requests for voting forms were received and sent to Sparkhill.

It is not illegal for forms to be sent to a different address but checks are being made to ensure they do not go to people who are not entitled to vote.

West Midlands Police's economic crime unit will examine the applications.

Isolated incident

Detective Inspector Dave Churchill said: "Although it is not illegal to have a postal vote sent to another address, there are serious ramifications if these votes are being abused."

Police want to ensure the voting system is not being abused ahead of the local and euro elections in June and say this appears to be an isolated incident.

Birmingham City Council elections officer John Owen would not say if the applications under investigation were all for votes in the same ward.

"We would encourage anyone who suspects any impropriety in the election process or has any hard evidence of it to contact the police," he said.

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