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Nigel Farage Claims ‘Corruption’ in the UK’s Postal Vote System – and Suggests Trump Lost to Biden due to ‘Ballot Harvesting’

Nigel Farage echoes Trump supporters’ conspiracy theories about electoral fraud in 2020 and makes unevidenced claims of corruption in the UK postal voting system

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage speaking at Princes Theatre in Clacton. PA Images / Alamy
Reform Leader Nigel Farage speaking at Princes Theatre in Clacton during the 2024 General Election campaign. PA /Alamy

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Nigel Farage has said that he believes there is “corruption in our postal vote system and many other things”.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday, Farage was pressed on his friendship with Donald Trump and whether that was indicative of an anti-democratic streak in him.

The Reform Leader said: “Well, I’ve been around for 30 years. Exactly 30 years ago I was campaigning in a by-election. Just over 25 years ago, I was elected to the European Parliament, and if there was anything in me that was fundamentally anti-democratic, I think you would have discovered it by now.”

On Trump, he added: “Of course I want Trump back in the White House.”

Donald Trump listens as Nigel Farage gives a speech as one of his campaign rallies in August 2016. Associated Press/Alamy

Farage then went on to suggest that Trump had lost the 2020 US Presidential Election to Joe Biden because “the law did nothing to prevent ballot harvesting etc.”.

‘Ballot harvesting’ refers to the addition of fake absentee postal ballots to ballot boxes to artificially boost the votes of one candidate.

The idea that the US election was rigged by ballot harvesting is promoted by US conservatives such as the commentator Dinesh de Souza, who made a documentary on the subject called 2000 Mules. Reuters fact-checked the film and found no evidence that the ballots referenced were anything other than the deliveries of the postal votes.

Republicans have been railing against the practice of collecting and delivering other voters’ ballots for years and, according to an NBC News report in May, the party suggested that it would mount its own ‘ballot harvesting’ operation ahead of the 2024 Presidential Election. In a Newsmax interview in late April, Republican National Committee co-chair Lara Trump said that the party’s ballot collection plans are “well underway”.

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In the Today interview, Farage clarified: “No, I don’t approve of objecting to elections, even though I object to much of what’s happening in terms of corruption of our postal vote system and many other things.”

Tom Brake, director of Unlock Democracy, which campaigns for greater participatory democracy, told Byline Times: “A willingness to accept the outcome of elections in a democracy is the hallmark of a true democrat. Trump failed the test and he should be held to account for it.”

Contrary to Farage’s speculations, voter fraud is highly uncommon in the UK.

The Electoral Commission publishes electoral fraud data each year – including statistics on personation fraud – and, in 2023, there were six allegations of postal impersonation. None resulted in a prosecution, a spokesperson told Byline Times.

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“Security checks on the identity of postal voters are in place to protect postal votes and the system from fraud,” they said. “Since May 2023, new rules introduced by the Elections Act, including making it a criminal offence for campaigners to handle completed votes other than their own, should further strengthen the security of postal voting.”

A 2020 House of Lords report on Britain’s electoral system found that perceptions of voter fraud were much higher than actual instances of fraud, “while the data available on electoral fraud indicates that it is rare… any fraud in the system undermines public confidence… there remain a significant number of people who perceive fraud to be a problem”.

The claim about postal voting corruption echoes Trump supporters’ theories about illegal ballot harvesting, which prompted Labour peer Lord Stuart Wood to post on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday: “Farage tells BBC Radio 4 that Trump lost the 2020 Presidential Election because of ‘ballot harvesting’, adding he has been warning of postal vote fraud in the UK. So: Biden is an illegitimate President? It feels like Farage contesting election results is coming to our shores soon.”

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In a fact-check article on Farage from 14 June, the BBC quoted the Electoral Commission as saying that the UK has “low levels of proven electoral fraud”.

Data from the independent body tasked by Parliament with overseeing UK elections shows that, of the 1,462 cases of alleged electoral fraud reported to police between 2019 and 2023, 11 led to convictions and the police issued four cautions. Of the five convictions for electoral fraud in elections held in 2019, one of them involved postal ballots.


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