We told the government that voter ID was a costly distraction.
First, it was £55m for new A4 polling cards and envelopes. Then cash-strapped councils were forced to spend £1.3m on thousands of mirrors and privacy screens needed to perform ID checks.
This week a £5.6 million publicity campaign promoting voter ID started – designed to let people know about these changes. Despite these millions, electoral administrators warn that it still isn’t enough – based on 2019’s turnout it would be just 17p per voter. Councils are receiving no extra money specifically to warn people about the new rules – they will have to decide whether to inform people about the changes or recruit more poll workers to deal with the confusion, and turn people away.
The Electoral Commission’s campaign will let people know how to apply for the new free voter ID certificate. But with just months to go until polling day, the Government website where people can apply for a free photo ID still wasn’t ready for the launch of the campaign. (Edit – the website has now, finally, launched)
Voter ID will cost £180 million a decade
The government estimates that voter ID will cost up to £180 million a decade – a huge price tag for such an unnecessary policy.
It’s yet another example of the government’s warped priorities when it comes to our elections. Instead of encouraging more people to vote, they’re putting up barriers instead.
Botched voter ID rollout could see thousands turned away
Voter ID is the biggest change to how we vote in a generation.
Putting up barriers to voting is the wrong thing to do but despite the risks that millions lack the necessary ID ministers pushed ahead with their plans anyway.
Ministers are failing in their duty to make this policy work, to make people aware of the changes and ensure nobody loses their right to vote.
Instead, they are risking chaos at the polling station that could see thousands turned away because they don’t have the correct ID.
Put simply – the government is setting our elections up to fail.
It’s time ministers thought again about voter ID and scrapped this dangerous and costly policy – nobody should be turned away from the polling station for not having the right sort of photo ID.
Add your name: Don’t waste millions on a dangerous voter ID scheme.