Cat writes about the Tory ministers and their plans to trial the use of requiring ID in polling stations.
While Labour supports measures to tackle electoral fraud, requiring voters to produce specific forms of photo ID risks denying millions of electors a vote. The Electoral Commission in 2016 reported that 3.5 million electors – 7.5 percent of the electorate – would have no acceptable piece of photo ID (passport or driving licence are the likely requirements). We must not underestimate the significance of this. By introducing strict identification laws, there is a risk of disenfranchising disadvantaged and vulnerable groups, those already most excluded from the political process.
There is also no evidence to suggest that electoral fraud is widespread in the UK. A total of 665 cases of alleged voter fraud and complaints about elections last year, out of a total of 51.4 million votes cast in all electoral contests in that period. That is only 1 case for every 77,000 votes cast, and of the 665 cases, only 130 related to voting offences! The Electoral Reform Society dismissed the voter ID trails as “a sledgehammer to crack a nut” and urged the government to “think very carefully before introducing barriers to voting. Local Authorities have also started to challenge the Government.
When questioned on this, Chris Skidmore, minister for the constitution, admitted that voter fraud was not a significant issue. The minister argued that the trials were more about tackling the perception of electoral fraud and installing confidence in our electoral system. Apparently despite the risk of reducing voter particpation!