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25U.K.After paragraph 5 insert—

Handling of postal voting documents by political campaigners

5ZA(1)A person who is a political campaigner in respect of a local election is guilty of a corrupt practice if the person handles a postal voting document that has been issued to another person for use in that election.

(2)But a person who handles a postal voting document for use in a local election is not guilty of a corrupt practice if—

(a)the person is responsible for, or assists with, the conduct of that election (for example as a returning officer or a person working under the direction of a returning officer),

(b)the person is engaged in the business of a postal operator, or

(c)the person is employed or engaged in a role the duties of which include the handling of postal packets on behalf of members of an organisation or the occupants of a communal building,

and the handling is consistent with the person’s duties in that capacity.

(3)Nor is a person guilty of a corrupt practice if the person—

(a)is the other person’s spouse, civil partner, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child or grandchild, or

(b)provides regular care for, or is employed or engaged by an organisation which provides care for, the other person.

(4)It is a defence for a person charged with the corrupt practice to show that the person did not dishonestly handle the postal voting document for the purpose of promoting a particular outcome at a local election.

(5)Where sufficient evidence is adduced to raise an issue with respect to the defence under sub-paragraph (4), the court must assume that the defence is satisfied unless the prosecution proves beyond reasonable doubt that it is not.

(6)For the purposes of this paragraph a person is a political campaigner in respect of a local election if any of the following paragraphs applies—

(a)the person is a candidate at the election;

(b)the person is an election agent of a candidate at the election;

(c)the person is employed or engaged by a person who is a candidate at the election for the purposes of that person’s activities as a candidate;

(d)the person is a member of a registered political party and carries on an activity designed to promote a particular outcome at the election;

(e)the person is employed or engaged by a registered political party in connection with the party’s political activities;

(f)the person is employed or engaged by a person within any of paragraphs (a) to (e) to carry on an activity designed to promote a particular outcome at the election;

(g)the person is employed or engaged by a person within paragraph (f) to carry on an activity designed to promote a particular outcome at the election.

(7)In this paragraph—

  • postal operator” has the same meaning as in Part 3 of the Postal Services Act 2011 (see section 27(3) to (5) of that Act);

  • postal voting document” means a postal ballot paper, declaration of identity or envelope that has been issued to a person by the returning officer for the purpose of enabling the person to vote by post at a local election;

  • registered political party” means a party registered under Part 2 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

(8)For the purposes of this paragraph, an envelope—

(a)that is not a postal voting document, but

(b)that contains a postal ballot paper or declaration of identity that has been issued to a person for the purpose of enabling the person to vote by post at a local election,

is to be treated as if it were a postal voting document that has been issued to the person for use in the election.

(9)In this paragraph, any reference to a person who is “engaged” by another person, or to a person who provides care for another person, includes a reference to a person who is engaged or provides care otherwise than for payment or promise of payment.

(10)For the purposes of sub-paragraph (3)(a), two people living together as if spouses of each other are treated as if they were spouses or civil partners of each other.

Commencement Information

I1Sch. 6 para. 25 not in force at Royal Assent, see s. 67(1)

I2Sch. 6 para. 25 in force at 12.12.2023 by S.I. 2023/1234, reg. 2(e)(iii) (with reg. 3)

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