18 February 2021 | UK NEWS
New laws may see voters being forced to show identification in order to vote at polling stations.
By 2023, new laws will seek to crack down on voter fraud, meaning that photographic identification will be required in order to cast a ballot. This is as opposed to the current situation, where voters must only provide a name and address in order to participate.
These new voting laws will be included in the Electoral Integrity Bill, which is set to be put before the Commons in the coming months. The law is set to be introduced in time for the 2023 local elections.
The aim of the Bill will be to inspire more confidence in the voting system. The move was part of the Conservative Manifesto at the last General Election in 2019.
Voter ID laws were trialled in the 2018 and 2019 local elections. Those elections saw hundreds of people being turned away because they did not have adequate ID. According to an Electoral Commission survey, two percent of people did not vote in the local elections for this reason.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson said last night: “We will be introducing new measures, as part of the Government’s manifesto commitment, to prevent the potential for voter fraud in our electoral system.
“This will further strengthen the integrity of UK elections, and will include ID checks at the polling station and rules that prevent abuse of postal and proxy votes.”
But Cat Smith, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Democracy, said last night: “It doesn’t matter how the Government dresses it up, these plans will make it harder for working-class, older and black people to vote.
“Giving people a say at the ballot box helps make our democratic country what it is, and we must not do anything to undermine that.”