Voters will be required to show ID before they can vote, to prevent anyone fraudulently taking another person’s ballot paper [Image: Alex Segre/Alamy Stock Photo].

This Writer has been an active participant in many elections, now – and the only instances of fraud I’ve seen have to do with postal votes not being sent to the voters.

Therefore I have to say that this is a waste of time and energy that takes the focus away from maladministration by the relevant authorities and puts it on people who do not deserve it.

Labour has made a similar point – that the demand for identification will hinder people who are perfectly entitled to exercise their democratic right:

Cat Smith, Labour’s shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs, said in a statement: “A year ago the Electoral Commission reported that 3.5 million electors –  7.5 percent of the electorate – would have no acceptable piece of photo ID. Under the Government’s proposals, these voters would either be denied a vote entirely, or in other trial areas, required to produce multiple pieces of ID, ‘one from group A, one from group B’.

“The Government should be doing all it can to encourage lawful voting and ensure a high turnout, not putting extra hurdles in the way. The plans for photo ID are like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut, potentially denying a vote to millions.”

The same sentiments were related on TV news broadcasts by Ken Livingstone, who said there could be an element of gerrymandering to help the Conservatives’ electoral aims because the demand for ID would “hit the poorest” who might never have applied for a passport or driving licence.

It seems Mr Skidmore has taken offence to that suggestion.

He said: “I think when you look at elections actually when it comes to presenting ID … already people turn up at a polling booth presenting their polling card thinking they have to provide ID. Many listeners will entirely agree that when it comes to voting it is one of the most important transactions you can make as an individual and in the 21st century many transactions require proof of ID.”

Asked whether the Cabinet Office had carried out research to check how many people have no ID, Skidmore said: “When it comes to the pilot we will be very carefully calibrating those so that there will be two models – one based on driving licence, passport, photographic ID, and the other will be based on utility bills and proof of registration.”

In other words, he has absolutely no evidence with which to support this plan, other than what he thinks.

No research has been carried out – the trial will be the research, in which people are likely to be stripped of their vote illegitimately by the election authorities. That makes a mockery of the whole exercise.

The Electoral Reform Society – the pressure group that campaigns for reform of the democratic system – has dismissed the plan as “a sledgehammer to crack a nut”.

What a shame we can’t crack nutters like Chris Skidmore.

UK voters will have to take ID to the ballot box at local elections in pilot areas under new plans to combat electoral fraud.

Chris Skidmore, minister for the constitution, announced the trials would start from 2018 after a report on voting fraud by Sir Eric Pickles, the anti-corruption tsar and former communities secretary.

Ministers will also consider Pickles’ recommendations about measures to check nationality of voters, creating safe zones around polling stations to stop intimidation, and ending vote “harvesting”, in which postal votes are submitted in bulk.

Some of the key recommendations under consideration include a ban on the handling of completed postal ballots by political campaigners, limiting it to family members or carers, and requiring people to reregister for postal votes every three years.

Although the scale of voter fraud is not thought to be widespread, the Cabinet Office said it was planning to bring forward new guidance for electoral registration officers who conduct the polls.

Source: Voters in local elections will be required to show ID in anti-fraud trials | Politics | The Guardian

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