‘I was denied the right to vote,’ claims Luton South constituent

Amit Ruparelia, holding the FOI refusal notice sent to him
Amit Ruparelia, holding the FOI refusal notice sent to him

An accountant has claimed that he is still looking for answers more than two months after a suspected postal vote fraud allegedly denied him and his mother a say in the general election.

Amit Ruparelia, 46, claims that he and his mother Manjula were both turned away from the polling station in Blenheim Crescent, Luton, at 7pm on May 7, by officers who told the pair that they had applied for a postal vote.

However Mr Ruparelia has told the Luton News that neither he or his mother submitted an application and that after a lengthy dispute at the polling station both were invited to complete tendered ballot papers, which do not go towards the final count.

It is also claimed that Mrs Ruparelia was turned away from the same polling station earlier that day, despite election rules stating that replacement postal votes can be requested before 5pm.

Mr Ruparelia exclusively told the Luton News: “We did receive white polling cards but we have never appliedfor postal votes.

“My question is, why have the council not produced the postal vote application for mum and I? Also why has this not been referred to the police?”

In a bid to discover if there was postal vote fraud across Luton during the election Mr Ruparelia submitted a freedom of information request to find out how many tendered ballot papers were cast.

The 46-year-old was issued a refusal notice by the council, as the FOI Act does not apply to electoral returning officers.

Mr Ruparelia, who has also made a formal complaint, said he intends to refer the refusal notice to the Information Commissioner.

The allegation has also been passed on to Luton South MP Gavin Shuker, who is pushing for a meeting between Mr Ruparelia and council chief executive Trevor Holden.

In a letter to Mr Holden, Mr Shuker writes: “I believe that the most important matter to be addressed is to ensure that transparency and accountability are maintained at every single juncture.

“There clearly seems to be many discrepancies on a range of issues relating to this that need both addressing and ultimately receive satisfactory and full closure on.”

Speaking to the Luton News, Mr Holden said that the claim is being fully investigated by the council.

He said: “We have got no reason to think there was anything wrong with the election procedure around postal votes. If we have any question we refer the matter straight to the police.”

He added: “In terms of integrity I have no reason to question the election that has just taken place.”

“The circumstances of this are unfortunate but the matter is being dealt with through our complaints process and we look forward to a satisfactory conclusion.”