Labour councillor Faisal Rana cautioned by police after voting twice in local elections

Faisal Rana, a Labour councillor in Rochdale, has been cautioned by the police after admitting voting twice in May’s elections for the location council.

Cllr Rana has properties in two different wards and joined the electoral register at both addresses. The wards are in different Parliamentary constituencies but both within Rochdale council. Faisal Rana cast votes in both wards at the Rochdale council elections earlier this year.

It is legal to be registered in more than one place, such as students who can register both at home and at university if they have gone away for university. But it is illegal to vote more than once for the same body. One of those example students could, for example, vote in both places at council elections if they are for different local councils. They could only vote once in a general election.

Faisal Rana said:

I have accepted a police caution for an electoral offence, which relates to me casting separate votes for two different wards in two different Constituencies (Spotland and Falinge, and Norden Ward) in the local elections earlier this year.

I legally registered my votes by providing my genuine national insurance number, date of birth and addresses and when I received these through the post I thought it would have been OK and that is why they issued me two ballots for two constituencies.

I did not realise this was an offence and misinterpreted the rule that says it is possible to vote in two different electoral areas. [Sky News]

Cllr Rana had held the assistant finance portfolio in the ruling Labour group. He is now reported to have “stepped away” from the role.

The official police statement on the case said,

On Monday August 13, a 51-year-man was cautioned with engaging in an act at an election intending to deprive another of a vote contrary to sections 62A(1) and 168(1) of the Representation of the People Act 1983.

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3 responses to “Labour councillor Faisal Rana cautioned by police after voting twice in local elections”

  1. The offence doesn’t tally with his description of what he did. The offence is stealing someone else’s postal vote. That is not the same as a double voting offence, which is Section 61(2)(a)(i).

    • The referenced Section 62A(1) of the 1983 Representation of the People Act refers to offences under 62A(2). That in turn covers items such as “making a false statement in, or in connection with, an application for a postal or proxy vote”, so the way I read it is that the police statement was a little clumsily worded and that the councillor had fallen foul of one of the provisions in 62A(2).

  2. The Police are correct to say Section 62A(1), as this creates the offence. Section 62A(2) lists the acts which constitute one part of the offence (the Section 62A(1)(a) acts).

    However, the point is that he says what he did was inadvertently vote twice. That is not the Section 62A(1) offence, which is stated by the Police to be about depriving another of an opportunity to vote (which in this section would usually be applying for a postal vote in another elector’s name and harvesting it). The offence also deals with making a gain of a vote to which the person is not otherwise entitled, but unless he has done something like making a false statement on the form, there is no act of he has done what he says he has done. The form is the postal/proxy form. If he is not validly dual registered that is a registration offence under another section, not an offence in relation to postal and proxy votes.

    A person validly dual registered can lawfully obtain two postal voting packs. The only offence is returning two of them if they are in the same local authority area. That is the Section 61(2)(a)(i) offence. Section 62A shouldn’t come into that.

    It may be that the councillor is correct in what he thinks he has done wrong and it is just the Police who have put the wrong section in the caution – which would be explainable on the basis that they very much focus on postal and proxy voting offences.

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