Our electoral law is outdated and antiquated. Campaigning evolves and innovates and our laws have failed to keep pace. The current allegations are regulated by the Representation of the People Act 1983. You only need to look at election broadcasts on Youtube to realise how much election campaigns have changed since 1983.
As membership of political parties has declined and campaigns have been run more by the central parties rather than local, the distinction between national and local campaigning has become increasingly blurred. Is this still the best way of differentiating expenditure?
The Electoral Commission has a statutory responsibility to report on election and make recommendations. However the government is not required to even formally respond to these recommendations, never mind implement them. The Electoral Commission has been calling for changes to the regulation of election spending and in particular additional powers to investigate abuses since 2013. It is high time that recommendation is implemented.
One of the key recommendations of Unlock Democracy’s Stamp Out Voting Fraud campaign back in 2008 was that the government should be required to formally respond to the Electoral Commission, as they are required to do with other statutory bodies. We believe this is essential to keep our electoral laws up to date.