Under the Conservative Government’s new proposals, voters will have to show photo ID at polling stations in order to cast their vote. At least three and a half million citizens – 7.5% of the electorate – don’t have access to any photo ID at all, so will be excluded from voting if the Tories go through with this.
Research shows that a third of people over 70 don’t have a driving license, whilst 35% of over-70s don’t own a passport, leaving them without ID to vote. Driving licenses and passports cost money – something that many people don’t have. In addition, young voters are far less likely to carry a form of photo ID, threatening to silence their voices in our democracy.
It doesn’t matter how the government dresses it up, these plans will make it harder for working class, older, younger and ethnic minority people to vote. It’s undemocratic and wrong. It’s clear that the Government are attempting to supress voters.
The fact of the matter is that this policy is pointless – voter fraud is a vanishingly rare offence in the UK. In 2019, out of 59 million votes cast in elections, there was just one conviction for voter personation – the type of fraud that Voter ID is support to tackle. You are more likely to get struck by lightning twice than commit voter fraud. British democracy is safe, and secure.
These plans are shockingly expensive, and are forecast to cost at least £17 million per general election. It is unthinkable that the Tories are proposing spending millions on a solution to a non-existent problem whilst the country is recovering from a yearlong national crisis that has ravaged our already underfunded local services and NHS. This is a time to be solving our growing social care crisis, aiding our businesses and supporting local services not throwing money down the drain to supress voters.
For many voters this will be a deeply frustrating barrier, however it is critical that you do not let it stop you from voting – we cannot give the Tories what they want. If you are concerned that these looming changes will affect your ability to vote, and need support ensuring you have suitable ID when election time comes around, please do not hesitate to contact my office where my team and I will do all we can to support you.
In the meantime, my Labour colleagues and I are fighting in Parliament to expose and stop this scandal.
It’s time to defend our democracy. No one should have to pay to be heard at the ballot box. Please visit labour.org.uk/freedomtovote to sign the petition and stand against this undemocratic attack.