Scotland Times

Thursday, Jun 13, 2024

New voter ID requirement sparks concern ahead of English elections

New voter ID requirement sparks concern ahead of English elections

Voters in England will for the first time have to produce photo I.D. in order to cast their ballot when polling stations open in local elections next week, sparking concern that some parts of the electorate will in effect be disenfranchised by the change.
Large parts of England vote in local council elections on May 4, and a national election is expected next year.

In Northern Ireland and many countries in Europe, the need to produce photo ID is established and not unusual. But rapid adoption of this new system in England leaves campaigners fearing that voters will be caught out by the change.

Jess Garland, Director of Policy and Research at the Electoral Reform Society, said the move could disenfranchise voters who don't have the right ID, adding others may forget.

"There's a lot of risk in doing what is essentially the biggest change to our elections for a generation," she said.

The change is happening in Wales and Scotland as well, although they don't hold local polls next week. Previously, people needed to register to vote, but only needed to give their name and address in order to cast their ballot.

The change applies to those hoping to vote in person rather than by post, and the deadline for members of the public to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate if they do not have another accepted form of photo ID is Tuesday.

But, with up to a quarter of people still unaware of the change, critics say the risks of the move outweigh the benefits given a low incidence of voter personation fraud.

The Electoral Commission, which regulates voting in Britain, said that there were just 7 cases of alleged personation fraud at a polling stations in 2022, all of which saw no further action taken by police due to insufficient evidence.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has downplayed concerns and said the change would ensure a "high integrity" voting process. His office says 98% of people already have an accepted form of ID.

The Electoral Commission said awareness of the change had risen from 22% in December to 76% in March and it was confident that for most people there would be no problem.

However its director of communications Craig Westwood said groups like trans people, Travellers and those with learning disabilities were less likely to have the right ID.

Daisy Sands, head of campaigns at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said low income would-be voters were already less likely to vote. "We should be encouraging people to vote, not making it more difficult," she said.

Though Garland from the ERS said voters across many different parties would be affected by this scheme, some opposition politicians fear the changes will stop voters who traditionally back them from taking part in the elections.

James Higginbottom, a councillor for the opposition Labour Party, said the government was copying tactics used by some in the U.S. Republican Party where some states have tightened voter identification laws amid claims about the threat of voter fraud.

Related Articles

Scotland Times
UK Island Orkney council to look at proposals to become territory of Norway
Woman Awarded Over £100,000 After Being Fired for Transgender Tweet
A provocative study suggests: Left-Wing Extremism and its Unsettling Connection to Psychopathy and Narcissism
A Real woman
Brand new security footage has just been released to the public showing the Active shooter Audrey Elizabeth Hale drove to Covenant Church School in her Honda Fit this morning, parked, and shot her way into the building
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
Double standards: UK lawmakers attack EU chief over Ireland claims
Democracy? Not for UK. UK PM rejects Scottish independence referendum, cancel democracy in BVI
UK urged to brace for economic storm
Women's own body dissatisfaction appears to influence their judgment of other women's body sizes
Prince William To Move Family Into Cottage Near Queen Elizabeth II
BOOOOOOS: Tony Blair receives royal honour
Captured Britons sentenced to death in Ukraine
Barbados PM Mia A. Mottley among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People
Today's headlines
"Just One Of the Boys In School:" Years That Shaped Prince Charles
BVI Premier Rubbishes Claim Of Causing COI Delay
Comments on "Human Intelligence in a Digital Age" - A brilliant Speech by MI6 Chief Richard Moore, and the elephants neglected in the room
Bitcoin: BoE Deputy Gov wants to cancel democracy and protect the banks with regulations which infringe on people’s freedom, independence and benefits they get from their own money.
What are the Pandora Papers?
Taiwan-China relations at their 'worst in 40 years'
The attempt to hold accountable for the content of its clients' websites is like blaming Gutenberg for the NYT's fake news that dragged the US into the pointless war against the nuclear weapons Iraq never had