There were a total of 179 cases of alleged electoral malpractice in 2013, according to data released by the Electoral Commission this week.
The figure is lower than those recorded for 2010 (271 cases), 2011 (268) and 2012 (406).
The Electoral Commission reported that three cases had so far been prosecuted with all resulting in convictions.
The prosecutions saw:
- A candidate in Loughborough, Leicestershire, receive a four-month suspended sentence for failing to reveal a prior criminal conviction.
- A candidate in the Isle of Wight receive 150 hours community service for use of false signatures on a nomination form.
- A candidate in Cambridgeshire was ordered to pay £110 costs plus being disqualified from the election process for five years for use of false signatures on a nomination form.
In five cases, individuals accepted police cautions. Forty-two cases were resolved locally with police or returning officer advice.
A total of 31 cases remain under investigation. Court proceedings have been initiated in two cases.
Seventy-three cases were meanwhile found either to involve no offence or there was insufficient evidence that a crime had actually taken place.
More than half (55%) of the reported cases related to campaigning offences. The next most significant category was registration offences (18%), followed by voting offences (13%), nomination offences (8%) and administration/miscellaneous (5%).
The Commission’s full report can be found here.
The Electoral Commission worked with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland to compile the figures.