In the recent Queen’s Speech, the Government formally announced their plans to introduce mandatory Voter ID at the next election.
This policy requires voters to present photo ID to vote at polling stations in future elections.
Labour have called on the Conservatives to urgently rethink the policy, raising concerns that the policy will reverse decades of democratic progress and threaten to bar millions of people from exercising their democratic right to vote.
This is a regressive policy straight out of Trump’s Republican Party playbook.
Voting rights is an issue very close to my heart, having previously introduced a Bill to Parliament to introduce Automatic Voter Registration – which would mean people are automatically enrolled to vote when people are issued with a National Insurance Number or, for people already over 16, using data held by Government departments such as HMRC and the DVLA.
Since this policy was first announced in December 2016, the Government has received multiple warnings from charities, civil society figures and campaign groups that mandatory voter ID – if rolled out nationally – could pull up the drawbridge for millions of voters.
The stats speak for themselves:
Fraud: Voter ID is a disproportionate response to tackling voter personation, which is a vanishingly rare event:
- From 2010-18, there were a total of 5 police cautions issued for personation at polling stations in the UK and a total of 4 criminal convictions for this electoral offence.
- In 2017 there were 28 allegations of voter personation fraud out of over 44 million votes cast, resulting in one conviction. This is equal to 0.000063% of votes.
- In 2018 there were just 8 allegations of polling station personation, which resulted in no convictions or cautions.
- In 2019, there was just one conviction for personation out of over 59million votes cast. There 33 allegations of personation out of a total of 585 cases of allegations of fraud for the year.
- According to the Government’s own analysis, more than 2 million UK voters could lack the necessary ID to take part in future elections.
- Three and a half million citizens – 5% of the electorate – do not have access to any form of photo ID.
- A survey by the Department for Transport found that 76% of the white population hold a driving licence compared with 52% of the Black populatio
- Passport: £85
- Driving Licence £43
- The introduction of Voter will cost the taxpayer up to £20m per election.
- The Conservatives have already spent over £4 million on surveys and pilots to test Voter ID.
- Voter ID policy will cost the taxpayer more than £40million over the next decade, equivalent to the average salaries of over 1,000 nurses.
Voter ID is a total waste of taxpayers’ money. The policy is set to cost millions of pounds at every election.
Voting is safe and secure in Britain. Ministers should be promoting confidence in our elections instead of spreading baseless scare stories which threaten our democracy.
Millions of people lack photo ID in this country – in particular the elderly, low income and Black, Asian and ethnic minority voters. The Conservatives are reversing decades of democratic progress and urgently need to rethink this pointless policy.