Government demands Voter Identification for elections

A few minutes ago I spotted a tweet from a friend of mine, Dan Thompson and his tweet was a reproduction of a tweet from the Electoral Reform Society organisation that they set out at about 9am this morning. I have added their image from their earlier tweet and the link to their website is available here. It was a piece that has the headline of “Voter ID that you can use in UK elections – and how to get it” and it was written by Jessica Garland, their Director of Policy and Research and it was published back on 22nd November. The first part of it was

From next year’s local elections, all voters will need to bring a form of photographic identification to vote.

The government has now confirmed in secondary legislation which photo IDs will be accepted, in a list which leaves few options for younger voters. We have long argued that voter ID is an expensive distraction. The scheme is expected to cost up to £180 million over a decade. And all this when there was just one conviction for personation in 2019 – a year in which over 58 million votes were cast.

As well as putting an unnecessary burden on the public purse, we have highlighted that voter ID risks creating barriers for voters on lower incomes. Joseph Rountree Foundation research supports this showing that it has the potential to disenfranchise 1.7 million low-income voters. Many of the accepted forms of ID come at a cost meaning better off voters are more likely to be able to access them.

This document then includes a section headed as What can you use for ID instead of a passport? which is very helpful in setting out the options for all of us if the Government remains with their requirement. As it happens they have a website which has the headline

News story

Voter Identification – FAQs

And they go on to begin with the following elements

What is voter identification and what will voters need to know?

Voter identification will require voters to prove their identity by showing a form of photographic identification, before being given their ballot paper in a polling station across Great Britain at national UK-wide elections, and at local elections in England.

A broad range of documents, both in date and expired, will be accepted in order to prove your identity to vote.

Why are we introducing this policy?

In our current electoral system, there is inexcusable potential for someone to cast another’s vote at the polling station. All you need to do is say a name and address when you go to vote.

Stealing someone’s vote is stealing their voice. Voter fraud is a crime that we cannot allow room for, so the government is stamping out any potential for it to take place in elections.

There is a lot more information and their website can be obtained from here. As it happens back on Thursday several MPs raised the theme which can be obtained from here and in this section and also in this section. As it happens back in October 2019 Faisal Rashid who is the Labour MP for Warrington South published this Early Day Motion under the headline “Voter ID requirements at polling stations” and within three weeks 70 more MPs endorsed it. That includes the SNP, the Plaid Cymru, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrat and some people who are described as Independent. The text for the EDM is as follows

That this House expresses deep concern at the Government’s announced plans to prevent people from voting unless they can provide photographic identification at the next election; notes that of the 44.6 million votes cast in 2017, there were just 28 allegations of in-person voter fraud and one conviction; recognises that some 11 million citizens do not possess a passport or driving licence and that people aged between 17 and 30 and black and minority groups are 15 per cent less likely to own driving licences; expresses concern that this policy will introduce widespread voter dropout among vulnerable and disadvantaged groups if rolled out; and calls on the Government to urgently review its proposals.

It would be fantastic if all of the MPs that have remained in Parliament will continue to respond on this theme. Sadly Faisal Rashid did not succeed in the 2019 General Election. However his focus was very strong and the MPs such as Caroline Lucas and Lloyd Russell-Moyle from Brighton have endorsed this. Along with the MP Early Day Motion in 2019 there was a petition set out in 2019 by people outside of the Government. This was covered by 102,430 people. This document was defined with

Scrap the Voter ID requirement introduced in the Election Integrity Bill

Starting it the 2023 Local Elections, the government plans to force every UK voter to present ID upon voting. This is a grave breach of the democratic process and will make it harder for those on lower incomes and people of colour to vote, as these groups are less likely to possess an official ID.

There were 34 allegations of voter fraud in the 2019 election, and one case of proven fraud. Out of 48 million registered voters. There is no need for us to add an extra layer of bureaucracy and complexity to the voting process. Our elections are the only thing which allow us a true say in our government; voting should be the most open and inclusive process possible.

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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