Nearly half Welsh local elections candidates experienced intimidation
Nearly half the candidates in May’s local elections in Wales reported experiencing abuse, threatening behaviour and intimidation, according to reports published today, September 21, by the Electoral Commission.
The reports look at the delivery of elections across the UK in May, and how voters and campaigners found taking part.
Findings reveal four in 10 candidates reported experiencing problems with intimidation in elections in Wales.
Most abuse was verbal or experienced online and from members of the public or anonymous sources, the report adds.
“Urgent action is needed to prevent the abuse and intimidation of candidates and campaigners at elections,” the Electoral Commission’s Director of Communications, Policy and Research Craig Westwood said.
“It is vital that candidates can participate in elections without fear. The Commission will work with governments and the wider electoral community to make sure we understand what is driving this issue, and address it as a matter of urgency.”
“Urgent action is needed to prevent the abuse and intimidation of candidates and campaigners at elections. It is vital that candidates can participate in elections without fear,” said Head of The Electoral Commission Wales Rhydian Thomas.
“The Commission will work with the Welsh Government and the wider electoral community to make sure we understand what is driving this issue, and address it as a matter of urgency.”
While public confidence in elections remains high, and campaigners reported that they felt able to communicate effectively with voters, the reports reflect the challenges faced by campaigners as well as by those running elections.
The Elections Act, passed earlier this year, introduces a new electoral sanction for those found guilty of intimidating candidates, campaigners and elected representatives.
Banning someone from standing for elected office, as well as imposing criminal sanctions, such as a prison sentence or fine, will strengthen the deterrent against this intimidating behaviour.
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