This year's elections are an all postal ballot. Electors will be able to vote by post over a number of days, from receiving their ballot papers at the end of May until the count on 10 June. Only a small number of proxy votes were expected.
Gillian Taylor, returning officer for the council elections and local returning officer for the European parliamentary elections, said: 'Returning officers are being urged by the Electoral Commission to be more vigilant on any issues concerning potential fraud.
'All parties have been clearly told that we will rigorously pursue any alleged fraud. It is important that all electors have full confidence that elections are conducted strictly in accordance with election law and that all electors eligible to vote are able to do so.
'Ballot papers will be posted at the end of May to all electors and any appointed proxy voters. Any proxy who is aware that the elector who has appointed them is now able to vote must return their ballot papers to the elector so that the elector can cast their own vote. I will be writing to any electors where I have concerns about their proxy appointment asking them to confirm whether or not their proxy has returned the ballot papers.
'I would urge any voter who has concerns to contact the elections office on 01282 477261 or 477327.'
Superintendent Steve Hartley, of Burnley Police, said: 'Officers are working closely with Burnley BC and will be actively investigating the proxy applications which have been referred to us. If we find any evidence of election fraud we will refer it to the Crown Prosecution Service with a view to further action being taken.'
Regional returning officer for the North West European elections, Howard Bernstein, said: 'We commend the action taken in Burnley by vigilant election officials. We are working rigorously in partnership with the police and Royal Mail to fully investigate any potentially fraudulent actions.
'We are determined to deliver an effective and efficient election process that maximises turnout and that accords with the high standards of behaviour from all involved. There is no room for fraud in these elections. We will act swiftly and thoroughly to investigate any inappropriate behaviour or events.'
Electors can appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf if they are not able to vote themselves, for example, if they are out of the country on holiday or on business, or serving abroad in the armed forces. They can appoint a temporary proxy just for a particular election or make an appointment for an indefinite period until they cancel the appointment.
There are 245 approved applications from electors for the appointment of a proxy. Of these 197 are temporary proxy appointments for 10 June elections of which 182 relate to the Daneshouse with Stoneyholme ward. The remainder are permanent appointments.
The returning officer and her election officers plus the police have met the agents, candidates and local party leaders from the Labour Party and Liberal Democrat Party, who arranged delivery of the proxy appointment applications for Daneshouse with Stoneyholme ward to the returning officer, to explain the action which she and the police intend to take.
The parties have confirmed that they will fully co-operate with these actions.