"Someone was round here a little while ago asking to collect our ballot. They knock on the door and say 'We are collecting the ballot papers, just hand us yours and we'll deal with them for you'." The 28-year-old is referring to the practice of local party volunteers knocking on doors offering help. It might seem innocuous – an attempt by helpful locals wanting to do what they can to get the vote out. But it is illegal.
Aware that such tactics are common, Miss Ali always goes to the polling station in person. But she fears that many people in this predominantly Bangladeshi corner of London might be taken in by unscrupulous campaigners. "Most of the people affected will be those who do not understand the political system or do not care: the young and the very old," she says. "Because most [of those] people don't understand the system and English is not their first language."
Every time an election comes to Tower Hamlets – a vibrant but impoverished borough which lies in the shadow of the City and is home to Britain's largest concentration of Bangladeshis – rumours, accusations and counter-accusations of voter fraud abound. For vibrant, read monochrome - black niqabs, shuttered pubs, gay free zone, etc.
A common complaint is over so-called "ghost voters", and the suspiciously high number of residents that can be registered for postal voting at small properties. Local Tory councillor Peter Golds has sent a dossier of evidence to the Electoral Commission highlighting flats where he believes this takes place.
The Independent knocked on their doors (of a few of the flats highlighted by Cllr Golds) yesterday and received no answer from two of the flats. But at the third a white man answered, who said he lived alone. According to the electoral register, four Asian names were recently added to his address as postal votes. The man, who declined to give his name, said he was recently visited by a man of south Asian origin who tried to collect the ballots. He refused.
In an attempt to tackle voter intimidation outside polling stations, police officers have been deployed during elections across the borough. But many residents say it has had little effect.