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It doesn’t matter how many organisations make common-sense arguments to stop the roll-out of voter ID checks.

The Conservatives are in trouble at the ballot box; they’re losing votes badly and need to stop Labour voters having a chance to exercise what should be their democratic right.

That is the reason the Tories have been claiming the voter ID pilot tests during the local elections in May were a glorious success, despite the fact that thousands of legitimate voters were denied access to democracy.

At just five constituencies, 3,981 voters were turned away. The total number of allegations of voter fraud in 2017 – out of a total of 45 million votes cast – was just 28.

There is no way of proving that there was anything wrong with the 3,981 voters who were turned away, so we can only accept that 28 possible instances of voter fraud are known to us.

This means that, at £20 million to roll it out across the UK, the cost to the taxpayer is £700,000 per allegation.

Considering the cost, and the effect on democracy, it’s no wonder the details were released right before Parliament went into summer recess, in a (failed, as usual) bid to hide the plan from the general public.

Labour’s Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, Cat Smith, made the situation perfectly clear: “Wasting tens of millions of pounds on trying to make it harder for people to vote has got to be one of the most stupid ideas ever.”

It is stupid, but only because the Tories have been caught red-handed. But they are unlikely to care because it is unlikely that anybody else will be able to do anything about it.

… I wonder how this would affect the DUP’s vote, if rolled out in Northern Ireland? If it isn’t, of course, the corruption should be obvious to everybody.

Back to Ms Smith: “At a time when our public services are in crisis and thousands of families are having to rely on foodbanks to stave off hunger, it is staggering that the Tories think that they can justify these undemocratic and unaffordable plans,” she added.

“Local authority election teams are already facing huge financial pressures after eight years of extreme Tory cuts and the government has no plans to address these concerns.”

All true.

Back in May, when I wrote about this following the local elections, I stated: “If the Conservatives go ahead with this, based on the evidence we’ve seen, we’ll know they are trying to nobble democracy.”

And we do know, don’t we?

Ministers are facing calls to ditch plans for nationwide voter ID checks as it emerged introducing them at a general election could cost up to £20m – even though there were only 28 cases of polling station impersonations alleged in 2017.

The government has been urged to abandon the contentious proposals, with the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) pointing out that at this rate, the cost could equate to £700,000 per fraud allegation.

Labour has claimed the moves are in danger of locking people out of the democratic process, and critics fear it could disproportionately affect ethnic minorities and the poorest.

It comes after ministers vowed to press ahead with plans to extend trials of the scheme, despite hundreds of people being turned away from the ballot box during tests in several locations during May’s local elections.

Details of the potential cost, which includes the price of hiring and training extra staff to carry out the identification checks, were set out with little fanfare in a Cabinet Office paper released ahead of the summer recess.

Source: Ministers urged to abandon Voter ID as rollout at general election estimated to cost up to £20m | The Independent

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