Fraud in Birmingham local elections has undermined faith in democracy, a senior Minister has admitted.
But as she prepared to visit the city today, Harriet Harman warned that anyone who cheated in local polls this May would be prosecuted and jailed.
Ms Harman will unveil a series of tough new measures to crack down on fraud when she speaks to the Association of Chief Police Officers in Edgbaston.
It follows the discovery of fraud in local elections in Aston and Bordesley Green two years ago, which led to the sacking of six Labour city councillors.
In a high-profile court hearing, election commissioner Richard Mawrey QC said the corrupt practices extended across Birmingham and would not disgrace a banana republic.
Mr Mawrey has worked with Ministers to help draw up new measures to prevent a repeat of the problem.
Speaking to The Birmingham Post, Ms Harman, a Minister of State in the Department for Constitutional Affairs, said: "I am confident it won't happen again, not least because we have built a package of measures on the analysis of the problems and weaknesses in the system which were identified by Richard Mawrey QC. He went through the entire system with a fine toothcomb, in particular in relation to postal votes.
"We went through his full written judgment and worked with him on proposals to solve the problems and plug the gaps."
There had been fears the high-profile court case could actually encourage fraud in the future, she revealed.
She said: "Once it has been advertised that there is a problem with the system then the worry is that anybody could defraud the system."
The court case, and the Government's response, had made it clear electoral fraud was a matter for the police, she said.
Ms Harman will today publish guidance for police and election officials on enforcing the Government's Electoral Administration Bill, which will be debated in the Commons tomorrow.
Electoral administrators will write to everyone who has applied for a postal vote acknowledging their application, in an attempt to alert people whose votes have been stolen by fraudsters applying on their behalf.
There will be a new offence of falsely applying for a postal or proxy vote and a new, strengthened, offence of attempting unduly to influence the way another person votes.
Ballot papers will also have a security mark and a barcode to enable quick security checks for stolen postal votes.
Stuart Hyde, Association of Chief Police Officers lead on electoral fraud and Assistant Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, said: "A great deal has been achieved in relation to changes in legislation and the development of this code of conduct provides a strong position to ensure the integrity of future elections." ..SUPL: