Government ‘rearranging the deckchairs’ as new voter ID trial areas announced

Posted on the 5th November 2018

Campaigners condemn ‘dangerous distraction’ of mandatory voter ID. 

  • Statement from the Electoral Reform Society, for immediate release, 5th November 2018
  • Spokespeople are available for interview/further comment. Contact [email protected] or 07717211630 

Commenting on the government’s announcement of new trial areas for mandatory voter ID next May, Darren Hughes, Chief Executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:

“Not content with disenfranchising hundreds of people this May, the government seem set on pushing ahead with these undemocratic voter ID plans. And once again these trials will fail to be balanced, with nine of the eleven councils Conservative-run.

“While genuine threats to our democracy go unchallenged – from ‘dark ads’ online to dodgy donations and unchecked lobbying, this policy risks being a dangerous distraction. Rearranging the deckchairs rather than dealing with the real political problems at hand might be the easier route, but it is the wrong one.

“The plans remain a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Across just five councils in May, twice as many people didn’t vote due to having incorrect ID as have been accused of personation in eight years across the whole of the UK.

“We now know imposing mandatory ID on voters could cost up to £20 million per general election. This costly change to how we vote is a marked departure from the trust-based British way of running elections, and with little evidence to justify it. The government should think again and look at reviving our democracy, not putting up more barriers.”

Read the ERS’ report on the May 2018 voter ID trials.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/next-round-of-voter-id-pilots-announced-for-2019

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