As Chair of the APPG on Electoral Campaigning Transparency I launched the groups ground-breaking report, Defending Our Democracy In The Digital Age, which sets out 20 recommendations on how to protect future elections and referenda from dirty money and dodgy data.
Our electoral law has not been updated properly since 2001 and since then we’ve seen the rise of social media and the use of it in elections. We need 21st century laws for 21st century campaigns.
The report is a product of an inquiry, completed by the APPG over several months last year, which sought expert advice on electoral law. We received written and oral evidence from more than 70 organisations and experts including the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Electoral Commission, Facebook, and other key stakeholders.
The report presents the most comprehensive answer yet to the concerns around election safeguarding in the UK. The recommendations cover three areas; Transparency, Monitoring and Deterrence, and they include:
• Establishing a new Office for Election Integrity to stop rule-breakers slipping through the regulatory gaps
• Removing the limit on fines for election offences.
• Regulating all donations by reducing permissibility check requirements from £500 to 1p.
• Regulating the ability of campaigns to target voters based on personal data.
• Streamlining national versus local spending limits with a per-seat cap on total spending.
• Giving the Electoral Commission prosecutorial capabilities.