Banksy is offering voters free limited edition prints if they vote against the Conservative party. A statement on the artist's website, as well as on his Instagram account, called on voters “in the Bristol North West, Bristol West, North Somerset, Thornbury, Kingswood and Filton constituencies” to show they had voted against Conservative candidates by sending pictures of their official voting documents.
According to a statement from the controversial street artist: “An exclusive new Banksy print will be released on the 9th June. This limited edition artwork on archival quality paper is completely free … 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."
A small "lawyer's note" appearing under the statement on Banksy's website reads: "This print is a souvenir piece of campaign material, it is in no way meant to influence the choices of the electorate, has no monetary value, is for amusement purposes only and is strictly not for re-sale. Terms and conditions to follow, postage not included."
The move, which Banksy's spokeswoman Jo Brooks confirmed this weekend, could land the artist – and participants – in an array of legal troubles. As noted by the BBC, “Under Section 66 of the Representation of the People's Act it is a criminal offence 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.’” Moreover, UK law makes it illegal to photograph and share a ballot paper's unique identification number.
Commenting on the matter, an Electoral Commission spokesman said: "Given the risk that someone taking a photo inside a polling station may be in breach of the law, whether intentionally or not, the commission's advice is against taking any photos inside polling stations."
Crimestoppers, which is working with the Electoral Commission to combat fraud, highlighted regulations against influencing the votes of others by way of compensation of any kind. The group further noted: "It's illegal to offer money or gifts to voters, directly or indirectly, to get someone to vote a certain way, or not to vote at all."
The Conservative party declined to provide the BBC with a comment.