1 in 4 voters wrongly believe they won’t need ID to vote in May’s local elections

According to the government’s own figures, two million voters do not currently hold a piece of photographic ID.

Voting Ballot Box

With just over 4 weeks to go until May’s local elections, one in four voters still wrongly believe that they will not need voter ID to vote.

The voter ID requirement is the biggest change to how our elections work in a generation with so many voters still unaware that they will need to show ID in order to be able to vote.

The Tories have been accused of gerrymandering and ‘legalised voter suppression’ after bringing in the requirements for voter ID from this May. The government says the measures have been bought in to combat fraud and ensure the integrity of UK elections, however the latest tracker of public opinion on the issue, found that 90 percent believe that voting at the polling station is safe, according to the Electoral Commission.

In 2019, the last general elections year, there were only 33 allegations of impersonation at the polling station, out of over 58 million votes cast.

According to a poll carried out by the Mirror, one in four voters wrongly believes they do not need photo ID to cast a ballot at May’s local elections.

Despite the change in law, the Mirror poll found that more than a quarter – 27% – of 1,500 voters quizzed online by Redfield & Wilton Strategies disagreed with the statement: “Voters must present photo identification in order to vote.”

According to the government’s own figures, two million voters do not currently hold a piece of photographic ID. What is also concerning is the lack of take-up of the free Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) for those without photo ID. According to the Electoral Reform Society, just 35,000 of these VACs have been issued.

Meanwhile, it is estimated that two million people in the UK lack the correct form of photo ID required for the elections.

When it comes to the forms of ID that are considered acceptable, younger voters are at a particular disadvantage. Six of the Government-accepted IDs are specifically targeted at older people, while almost none are aimed at younger people, leading to accusations that the government is engaged in ‘legalised voter suppression’.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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