'The Tories have no shame'
Despite the controversy surrounding the government’s voter ID laws, which saw a number of voters turned away at this month’s local elections, the Tories have now unveiled plans to further extend the requirements for photo ID at elections and further gerrymander.
Data collected by the BBC suggested thousands were denied ballot papers at polling stations and did not return. It was previously estimated that up to two million people lacked the necessary photo ID to vote in elections and a recent poll by Byline Times found that one in seven people were put off from voting due to England’s strict new voter ID rules in May’s local elections.
Last week, former Tory Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted at the National Conservatism Conference that voter ID laws were all about gerrymandering and boosting Tory support rather than tackling electoral fraud as the government tried to claim.
He told the audience at the conference: “Parties that try and gerrymander end up finding their clever scheme comes back to bite them, as dare I say we found by insisting on voter ID for elections.
“We found the people who didn’t have ID were elderly and they by and large voted Conservative, so we made it hard for our own voters and we upset a system that worked perfectly well.”
The government is now planning on bringing in ID checks for postal and proxy votes in future elections, and will also make people re-apply for postal votes every three years.
Yesterday, the government published a written statement with the following: “To further strengthen the security of the ballot, an identity check will be introduced for all applications for an absent vote. This change will apply to applications made on paper and online and bring the absent vote application process in line with the Individual Electoral Registration ‘Register to Vote’ process. This change accompanies a new requirement to reapply for a postal vote at least every three years, replacing the current five-year signature and date of birth refresh.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was among those who condemned the move. He tweeted: “The Tories have no shame. As Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted, voter ID changes are an attempt to rig elections in the Tories’ favour. It’s outrageous, and will see even more young people and minorities lose their vote.”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward