Over one million people at risk of not having voter ID on election day

Author:
Darren Hughes, Chief Executive

Posted on the 1st July 2024

New figures show that there have been only 57,000 new applications for Voter Authority Certificates (VACs) meaning over a million voters risk not having an accepted form of ID on July 4th.

Voting is a fundamental democratic right and one person being stopped from casting their rightful vote is one too many. 

Government figures from the day after the deadline show that since the election was called there have been just 57,418 applications for VACs, which can be used at polling stations as proof of identity by people who do not have any of the accepted forms of ID needed to vote.

The deadline for VAC applications was 5pm on Wednesday, June 26th. The figures also show that there have been 214,051 applications for VACs since January 2023, when they were introduced. However, that figure is still dwarfed by the nearly 2 million voters estimated not to have an accepted form of ID, which means over a million voters risk being locked out of participating in the general election.

That is a completely unacceptable situation in a modern democracy. 

Risk of confusion at polling stations on July 4 

There is also a risk that we see voter ID rules cause further confusion at polling stations on election day after thousands of voters have already been caught out by voter ID rules at local elections. This will be the first time that millions of voters will have to show ID, notably in Scotland.

This will also be the first general election where voters will be required to show ID, meaning more voters will likely be encountering the rules for the first time, as general election turnouts tend to differ from local elections.

At least 14,000 people were prevented from casting their vote at the 2023 local elections due to a lack of accepted ID, according to the Electoral Commission. During this year’s local elections, we again saw people being caught out, including a decorated Afghanistan veteran who was unable to use his veteran’s ID card, and even Boris Johnson, the former Prime Minister who brought in the voter ID laws.

The issue of veterans’ ID is a particular area where there could be confusion on July 4th as the Government pledged after the local elections to add veterans’ ID to the list of accepted ID, but the Electoral Commission has said new forms of ID won’t be added to the list acceptable ID for this coming general election. 

It is clear that voter ID rules are having a disproportionate and damaging impact on our elections and should be scrapped by the next government. At the very least, the list of accepted ID should be drastically expanded to ensure as many voters as possible can cast their ballot.

The next government should repeal voter ID rules

Add your name: One voter turned away is one too many.

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