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Government must re-think its voter ID policy

October 4, 2020 4:46 PM
By Bryan Lewis

The government has confirmed plans to impose mandatory voter ID at elections.

Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith confirmed she plans to push ahead with mandatory voter ID, writing: "We are concentrating on the promises we made in our manifesto including to ensure electoral integrity by introducing voter ID and bringing forward changes to strengthen postal vote processes and to equalise constituencies amongst other changes."

According to the Electoral Commission there was only one proven case of personation fraud out of millions of votes cast in the UK in 2019.

Voter-ID proposals will disproportionately hit older voters, people of colour and those on low-incomes. Experience from the US shows that when there's no universal ID scheme, these laws unfairly - and often deliberately - lock millions out of the ballot box, skewing the system and deepening political inequalities. We must not import US-style voter suppression to the UK.

Given the huge potential for disenfranchisement, it is deeply worrying that ministers see imposing voter ID as a priority - rather than reforming our out-dated voting system or the unelected House of Lords. When it comes to Britain's democratic crisis, this isn't just fiddling while Rome burns - it's pouring petrol on the flames. It's vital that ministers think again before driving another wedge into our already-unequal politics.