Yesterday, several news outlets reported about the controversial Banksy election print that the “mysterious artist” would give out to those who vote against the Tories (led by Party Leader Theresa May) in the upcoming general election in the UK. The rumour of the Banksy election print was true. “Simply send in a photo of your ballot paper from polling day showing you voted against the Conservative candidate and this complimentary gift will be mailed to you,” he posted on his official website. Banksy’s election print was based on his famous ‘girl with balloon’ motif but now also includes the Union Jack flag. Banksy made the offer specifically for voters in the following constituencies: Bristol North West, Bristol West, North Somerset, Thornbury and Yate, Kingswood, and Filton and Bradley Stoke.
But, as per electoral guidelines informed by Section 66 of the Representation of the People’s Act, 1983, this would make Banksy a criminal. It is unlawful to “induce a voter to display his ballot paper after he has marked it so as to make known to any person the name of the candidate for whom he has or has not voted”. Basically, it’s illegal to ask people who they voted for, and you certainly can’t offer them an incentive to tell you. The Act also says that “it is a criminal offence under the Representation of People Act 1983 for any voter to accept or agree to accept a gift or similar in return for voting or refraining from voting. Any person participating in an offer to receive a gift is at risk of being prosecuted.”
The artist’s website currently only displays the following message, and the Banksy election print offer stands recalled.
Banksy, whose work has always been steeped in leftist political overtones, recently also confirmed that this Brexit inspired European Union flag mural in Dover was his own work.