Experts have issued a warning to the public ahead of General Election month, as many of us could be making mistakes that will land us with fines or even a prison sentence.

A range of election material has been published and sent out across the country, with much more still to come.

This includes leaflets and adverts promoting the election  and candidates, as well as documents regarding the postal vote and voting slips.

Failure to get rid of these materials properly could be a civil offence resulting in a £200 fine, experts have warned.

While the most serious cases could lead to a criminal prosecution with the maximum punishment being a two-year prison sentence.

With households currently receiving election letters ahead of voting, experts at are advising the nation not to dispose of these documents in public bins.

Postal ballots will be landing on doormats soon, leading to the biggest threat to the public. If one is wrongly pushed through your letterbox, disposing of these rather than informing the authorities could be classed as a criminal offence.

Under the Representation of the People Act 1983, causing a communication relating to a postal vote or proxy ballot not to be delivered to the intended recipient is an offence which carries a maximum two-year prison term.

Election slips should not be disposed of in public bins to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the electoral process. Improper disposal can compromise voter privacy, leading to potential identity theft or intimidation, and undermine public trust.

Secure and controlled disposal of these election documents is essential to uphold democratic principles and comply with the legal waste management guidelines.

In addition to this, according to the Environmental Protection Act 1990, household waste should not be disposed of in public bins, in order to protect public health and the environment.

That means any letters or documents containing private information such as your name, address or bank details - which includes election campaigning material - should be destroyed and discarded in your household bin.

If disposed of incorrectly in public bins, individuals can be subject to a financial penalty of £200.

Similar principles apply to household waste, which includes unwanted rubbish, items and garden waste. All items should be disposed of in the correct bin, distributed by the council.

Alternatively, household waste can be disposed of in a local recycling centre, private waste site or given away or sold.

Dean Botham, spokesperson at, says “We urge everyone to be careful when disposing their election campaign materials, as improper disposal could lead to fines of up to £200, or even a prison sentence.

“As people may or may not know, documents including promotional voting material, postal vote letters and voting slips, which have been posted through your door, all count as household waste, so they should not be thrown away in public bins.

“It is essential that these documents are thrown away correctly, as household waste, to protect voter privacy, comply with legal guidelines and to protect public health and the environment.

“It serves as a reminder that all documents containing personal details should be shredded at home in order to ensure they are disposed of in the correct manner whilst retaining both privacy and confidentiality.”