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British election officials demand postal vote safeguards after third Labour victory

[JURIST] Despite a low 61% turnout [Liverpool Daily Post report] and an undisputed third-term victory [latest BBC results] for Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Labour Party [party website] in Thursday's UK election, officials from the UK Electoral Commission [official website] Friday warned of voting irregularities and called for implementing reforms [Electoral Commission postal voting report, April 2005] to prevent future postal voting fraud. About 4 million people requested postal ballots [Royal Mail postal voting guide] for Thursday's vote and some voters, including BBC Radio hosts John Humphrys [Press Association report] and Mariella Frostrup [BBC report] were turned away at the polls because postal ballots had improperly been requested in their names. Currently, election officials are not permitted to request identification at the polls, which officials believe encourages fraud. Liberal Democrat [party website] candidate Ayoub Kahn, who lost his race for a Birmingham seat by 6,801 votes. has already made allegations of ballot rigging [Guardian report] and is considering filing charges with the High Court. Postal voting was controversial in the run-up to the election; a Birmingham city leader launched a High Court challenge in an unsuccessful effort to force changes before the May 5 poll. BBC News has more.

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