Voters to be forced to show ID at polling stations in bid to tackle electoral fraud
Voters across the country will become the first ever to have to show identification at polling stations under moves to crack down on electoral fraud.
Five councils have signed up to a pilot scheme ahead of next May's local elections.
Local voters will have to present ID to prove who they are before going to the polling booth, something which is not required at present.
It follows a report last year by former Cabinet minister Sir Erick Pickles, which identified 18 local authority areas where fraud had taken place.
Two of those - Slough and Woking - are among the five councils taking part in the pilot. The others are Gosport, Bromley and Watford.
In addition, Tower Hamlets in east London - where the 2014 mayoral election was declared void - will run a separate postal voting pilot.
Alleged electoral fraud through voter impersonation more than doubled between 2014 and 2016, according to figures published by the Electoral Commission.
Chris Skidmore, the minister for the constitution, said: "For people to have confidence in our democratic processes we need to ensure that our elections are safeguarded against any threat or perception of electoral fraud.
"The current situation of people simply pointing out their name without having to prove who they are feels out of date when considering other safeguards to protect people's identity. It is harder to take out a library book or collect a parcel at a post office than it is to vote in someone's name."
If successful, further trials will take place with the aim of rolling out the new system across the whole country.
Claire Bassett, chief executive of the Electoral Commission, said: "We welcome the minister's announcement as a positive first step towards implementing our 2014 recommendation that an accessible, proportionate voter identification system should be introduced in Great Britain."
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