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Saturday, September 23, 2023

POLL: Do you agree with new voter ID rules at local elections?

NewsPOLL: Do you agree with new voter ID rules at local elections?

Voters in England heading to polling stations for the local elections on Thursday, May 4, will be required to show photo ID for the first time.

The new requirement was introduced as part of the Elections Act 2022 to reduce voter fraud, following the recommendations of a 2016 report by former communities secretary Sir Eric Pickles which warned there was a risk of “significant abuse” of the electoral system.

Voters will be required to show polling clerks a form of photo ID, with acceptable forms including a British passport, driver’s licence, Pass card, over 60s bus pass and a disabled driver’s blue badge.

The ID does not need to be in date as long as it is the original copy, recognisable as the individual and the name matches the electoral register.

The policy has been in place in Northern Ireland since 2007. Voters in Scotland and Wales will not be required to show ID until the next general election, after 2023. 

READ MORE:Remember your voter ID, Lee Anderson’s top tip for the local elections


The Government has said that the change is necessary to curb the “inexcusable potential” for “stealing someone’s vote” yet critics have claimed that electoral fraud levels are very low in the UK.

The Electoral Reform Society has said that in 2019 just 33 allegations of impersonation at polling stations were made out of more than 58 million votes cast.

Jess Garland, director of policy and research at the Electoral Reform Society, said the move could disenfranchise voters: “There’s a lot of risk in doing what is essentially the biggest change to our elections for a generation.”

It is estimated that across the UK almost two million adults do not have any forms of photo ID that meet the requirements. However, the exact number of voters turned away at polling stations for not having the correct ID will never be known. 

Clive Betts, chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee, said: “The Electoral Commission has confirmed that we simply won’t know how many people will have been turned away in a queue outside a polling station because they do not have the requisite ID.

“It appears that the Government has designed a system which denies the prospect of sensible and co-ordinated information collection and makes it almost impossible to judge the true impact of the introduction of voter ID.”

So what do YOU think? Do you agree with new voter ID rules? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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