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Chaos could hit English local elections because of ‘too strict’ photo ID for voters

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Staff running local elections in May risk being “overwhelmed” by bureaucracy and complaints before and on polling day because of new rules requiring all voters to produce photo ID in order to cast their ballots.

The warning has been issued by the Local Government Association (LGA) amid rising concern that the requirements are too strict, and inadequate preparation has been done to inform voters that the rules have changed. Ministers say the move, piloted in several local authorities at previous local elections in England – though with lighter touch restrictions – is essential to root out extremely rare cases of voter fraud.

Critics of the reform, including the main opposition parties, estimate that the change will mean more than a million voters being “disenfranchised” because they don’t have photo ID such as a passport or driving licence, or find out too late to apply for a voter authority certificate (VAC), which will be accepted as a substitute.


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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Voter ID: Conservative MPs gave weak justification for law that could stop people voting


The UK government has changed the law so that people in England will have to show ID when they go to vote. This controversial new rule was brought in on the insistence that the “integrity of elections” needs to be protected. But it has the potential to prevent many people from taking part in elections.

Given the stakes, you would expect this to mean there is good evidence that elections in the UK are in danger of being compromised. If there is concern about their integrity, there must be an issue with voter fraud – and specifically with people posing as other people in order to vote in their name. This, after all, would be the only problem that voter ID could resolve.

When I explored how Conservative MPs debated this controversial policy in parliament, however, I found that they didn’t seem to talk much about voter fraud by impersonation, despite voting to introduce ID to prevent it.

All the evidence shows voter fraud is extremely rare in the UK. There have been only three convictions of voter impersonation in the past seven years. I found both Conservative and Labour MPs agreed that the number of reported voter fraud cases is small.


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