POLITICS EXPLAINED

Hard lessons to learn on Voter ID before the next election

Compulsory photo ID has suppressed and distorted voting more than fraud ever did, says Sean O’Grady

Wednesday 13 September 2023 19:18 BST
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<p>A stark warning from the local elections from the Electoral Commission over Voter ID (Andrew Matthews/PA)</p>

A stark warning from the local elections from the Electoral Commission over Voter ID (Andrew Matthews/PA)

A new report by the Electoral Commission raises significant concerns about the impact on the next general election of the new rules on voter ID. Under legislation passed in 2022, voters in mainland Britain are now required to show photographic ID at polling stations, and when registering for a postal vote. According to the commission’s survey of how officials dealt with the new rules at May’s local elections in England, significant improvements need to be made in voter awareness, and in resources available to returning officers, for the system to work better in the more intense atmosphere of a general election where turnout is typically twice as high. (Voter ID is already well established in Northern Ireland, where historically electoral fraud has been more widespread.)

The commission recommends expanding the list of accepted IDs, providing options for those without ID such as being vouched for by another voter, and raising awareness of the support available for disabled voters.

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