The Welsh Conservatives: what a ridiculous, small-minded clutch of creeps!
Their current wheeze is trying to pretend that the new Elections Bill in Westminster – that will cheat 3.5 million people out of being able to vote – is “nothing to fear”.
Well, it might be nothing for them to fear, but for Welsh voters it is very serious! This Site calls it the Voter Restriction Bill.
The Welsh Government is rightly opposing the Bill, for reasons we’ll discuss shortly.
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Constitution, Darren Millar (who?) said: “This is nothing more than mischief making from the Welsh Government and its allies.
“Voters in Wales have nothing to fear from these proposals. The only people who should be concerned are those who intend to commit election fraud.
“People are required to present ID to vote in many vibrant democracies around the world including Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Iceland and Italy so I see no reason why this shouldn’t be the norm here in Wales.”
Fortunately there are adults in Welsh politics who are able to explain to these Tory might-as-well-be children what their own party’s legislation means.
Jess Blair, Director of Electoral Reform Society Cymru (Wales), said: “This Elections Bill could lead to a ‘two tier franchise’ in Wales, with some elections banning those without ID, and others remaining open and free.”
It means that, if any UK and Welsh elections took place on the same day, two sets of rules about how people take part would apply. Some people would be certain to become confused and fail to take ID – if they had it – meaning they would be excluded from voting in the Westminster election.
“This bill would ban anyone without ID from voting, while forcing over-stretched council workers to become bouncers at the ballot box, turning away potentially thousands of would-be voters each election. There is simply no need for this costly barrier to democracy. At a cost of up to £180m per decade, forcing this through is a strange priority for UK ministers right now.
“Moreover, the changes to the Electoral Commission represent a UK government power grab, with ministers given new controls over our elections watchdog. This is a dangerous and unprecedented move that the Welsh Government is right to oppose.”
Other plans would remove the 15-year limit on overseas electors in UK general elections – to allow Tory donors to continue participating in elections; ban party campaigners from handling postal votes, and stop people from collecting postal votes from people who are unable to get to post boxes and handing them in.
In a paper published on the Senedd website Counsel General Mick Antoniw wrote: “The Welsh government does not support the introduction of voter ID, the placing of unnecessary constraints on postal and proxy voting, or the extension of the overseas franchise.”
Do not be confused: the BBC may claim the move toward voter ID is a bid to prevent possible fraud from people pretending to be someone they are not at a voting station – but how can it be, when such crime is practically nonexistent in the UK and this legislation will cost £180 million per decade?
No – this is a bid to make it harder for working class, older and black, Asian and minority ethnic people to vote.
And the reason is clear: these are all people who are unlikely to vote for Boris Johnson’s Conservatives.
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