A significant change to election law that will see voters forced to show photo ID at polling stations has been branded “thinly veiled voter suppression” by Lib Dems.
The new requirements stem from the Conservative government’s Elections Act 2022 and will apply to the Rochford District local elections in May 2023. Residents will be asked to show their identification documents to poll clerks to obtain ballots at polling stations.
Lib Dems have warned that the law risks disenfranchising many people who don’t have photo ID.
I think It's crazy to think that in 2019 there was just one conviction for in-person voter fraud in the entire country but the Conservatives think creating barriers, to an already low voter turnout, is a good idea.
Clearly the intention is to reduce turnout amongst voters who are less likely to have one of the approved forms of ID. Coincidentally, these are voters who are less likely to vote Conservative. This is a fundamentally illiberal policy imposed by an unethical government.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities has yet to publish the full list of acceptable forms of identification; however, driving licences, passports and bus passes will be included. Postal voting arrangements will not be affected.
An estimated 3.5m voters across the country, have no photo ID, however these residents will be able to apply to the Council for a ‘Voter Authority Certificate’ to prove their identity.
The Local Government Association has called for voter ID requirements to be delayed, due to concerns that there is insufficient time to implement changes ahead of the May 2023 elections.