In the latest major decision on electoral fraud, James Potts successfully represented the Labour Party petitioner challenging the result of the 2012 Woking Borough Council elections (Maybury & Sheerwater Ward). The Labour Party had lost the election by just 16 votes. The election has now been avoided on the grounds of general corruption and corrupt and/or illegal practices by the standing Liberal Democrat councillor, including vote harvesting and false registration of “ghost voters”. A by-election will be held.
James acted as sole counsel for the Labour Party candidate in a seven-day High Court trial. The Election Commissioner found that there was “overwhelming” evidence of “widespread” false registrations and false votes (both in person and by post) perpetrated by the Liberal Democrat candidate. There had been concerns about electoral fraud in the Ward for several years prior to 2012, but no action had been taken by the CPS.