a brazen attack on people’s democratic rights, the Conservatives have announced that photographic identification will be needed in order to vote at future UK Parliamentary elections. They argue that voter ID will protect people from having their vote stolen. In fact, the real reason is to prevent as many people as possible from voting if they’re not likely to vote Conservative.
Cases of voter impersonation at UK elections are incredibly rare. In 2019, when the last general election was held, there were just four convictions for electoral fraud. Two of these cases involved forging of nomination signatures by local election candidates, one was for disruptive behaviour (grabbing the ballot box to stop people voting) and just one (in the European Parliamentary election) was for voter impersonation.
So what’s this about? It has been estimated that currently up to 2 million people would be unable to vote if photographic proof of identity is required; even if a proportion of these people acquire photographic ID for the purpose, many others will remain disqualified from voting. Disproportionately, the affected groups are Labour voters.
As Cat Smith, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, has said: “It doesn’t matter how the Government dresses it up, these plans will make it harder for working class, older and black people to vote. Giving people a say at the ballot box helps make our democratic country what it is, and we must not do anything to undermine that.”
The Local Government Information Unit has warned, “If the current plan goes ahead too quickly, news that people have been turned away as they were not able to produce ID on Election Day could well threaten the outcome of parliamentary contests.”
So our message to our MP, Virginia Crosbie, is that she should oppose these unnecessary and blatantly antidemocratic measures when they are debated in Parliament. Not that we expect that to happen!