Cabinet Office is not sure about people aged 30-69

Last Tuesday Caroline Lucas the Brighton Pavilion MP asked a question which is focusing on the new rule that the Government has set out that applies to the Council Elections from February this year and Government Elections from October this year. The question was very useful and the answer suggests that the Cabinet Office has not researched the condition of people aged from 30-69 and so in that sense it means the answer is not correct. The end of the response from the answer reflected on what happened in Northern Ireland in 2003 which was set out by the Labour Government! The Minister who responded to the question was Lee Rowley who is the MP for North East Derbyshire. As I was publishing that question and answer session I received an email from Open Britain and their understanding is also very significant so their call is listed below the question and answer – the impact of the images that are acceptable is indicated in the bottom of this image. So first of all the question and answer from last week.

Caroline: To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an estimate of the number of people who do not hold a valid photo ID to vote in elections requiring that identification as of 1 February 2023.

Lee: The Cabinet Office has published an extensive survey on levels of ownership of photographic identification, which includes geographical breakdowns. The results have been published here.

Cabinet Office research shows that 99% of those aged 18-29 held an accepted form of photographic identification, and 98% of those aged over 70 hold an accepted form of photographic identification.

Everyone who is eligible to vote will have the opportunity to do so. Any eligible voter who does not have one of the required forms of photographic identification, or whose appearance has significantly changed in comparison to their existing identification documents, can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate that matches their current appearance.

Polling station staff will be given appropriate training and there will be a requirement for privacy screens to allow electors who wish to have their form of identification viewed in private able to do so.

The Electoral Commission will provide a comprehensive, targeted communications campaign and guidance, raising awareness throughout the electorate of the new voter identification requirements.

Northern Ireland has successfully operated photographic identification in polling stations since 2003, when introduced by the last Labour Government.

When I checked the detail on the Government website the aged from 65 indicates that our nation involves 24% of our 75,000,000 people so if we treat that as closer to 20% of the 70 aged people that indicates around 15,000,000 people so 2% of people that age if it is correct means that 300,000 people aged over 70 across the UK will need to be handed photographic identification!

Interestingly today’s Open Britain has published a statement that states below and it was set out by Joel who is part of the Open Britain document.

Did you know that millions of eligible voters may be turned away from the ballot box at May’s local elections? The government rushed through new voter ID requirements ahead of this year’s May 4th local elections – and it’s going to impact you. 

For the first time in England, voters will be required to present photo ID to vote—and not all photo IDs will be accepted. If you show up to the polls with an 18+ Oyster card or a student ID, for example, you may be denied your ballot, while IDs like 60+ Oyster cards will be accepted. 

While the Electoral Commission has launched a public awareness campaign, many fear that the new law will harm our democracy with voters unaware of the requirements. The [rushed] enactment of these restrictions is meant to target voter fraud (with very little evidence that this is an issue in the UK ) and will cost millions in taxpayer funds, while the public still faces an urgent cost-of-living crisis. 

Similar laws have been enacted in the American South to suppress votes, particularly those of society’s most disadvantaged. We cannot go down this undemocratic path in the UK. Any eligible voter denied this May is unacceptable, so we must act to ensure that everyone is able to plan to vote ahead of time. 

The Electoral Commission simply can’t do enough on its own, so we must take direct action to spread the word to our family, friends, and communities. The most effective thing we can do is to ask those around us if they know about the new rules, have proper ID, or if they need help applying for a Voter Authority Certificate. 

Everyone deserves a fair shot at having their voices heard, and Open Britain remains committed to ensuring that this is the case. This May, you, your loved ones, or your communities could be unjustly disenfranchised, so we all need to set out a plan to vote. Open Britain has launched a Plan to Vote campaign, and the hard work begins now.

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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