Voters to show ID as part of Government trial to tackle electoral fraud

Posted On: 
27th December 2016

Voters in some areas of the UK will need to show proof of identification in order to receive their ballot paper, as part of a Government trial attempting to reduce electoral fraud. 

Councils will pilot requiring different forms of ID in 2018's local government elections
Credit: 
PA Images

Different councils will pilot different forms of ID, such as passports or bills to prove address.

The Government is introducing a number of other changes, including to how postal votes are collected, in an effort to improve the integrity of the system.

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Labour backed the proposals, but said the Tories were trying to “fix the rules to suit themselves”.

The plans are a response to the review by Conservative MP Sir Eric Pickles, which reported in the summer and was launched in response to the 2014 Tower Hamlets mayoral election being declared void.

Chris Skidmore, the constitution minister, said: “The Government’s view is that electoral fraud is unacceptable on any level. I want to protect the right of everyone to have their say and participate in our democracy.

“That is why the new measures we are announcing today will protect anyone who is at risk of being bullied, undermined or tricked out of their vote - and their democratic right. 

“By eliminating fraud and tackling improper practices, we are ensuring the integrity of our electoral system while building a clear and secure democracy that works for everyone.”

If it is successful in a number of trials in 2018’s local elections, ID requirements could be rolled out nationwide. Voters in Northern Ireland are already required to bring identification to the polling station. 

Labour has said it would support the Government’s proposals, but highlighted the reduction in people on the electoral register since individual registration was introduced by the Government.

Cat Smith, shadow minister for voter engagement and youth affairs, said: “The Government's priority should be to ensure the integrity of the system, but also to address the fact that under them hundreds of thousands of people have fallen off the register due to their unnecessarily rushed changes.

"Despite what the Tories say, they have been more interested in fixing the rules to suit themselves, rather than helping the many eligible voters who are not on the electoral roll."

POSTAL VOTES

Political activists will also be stopped from submitting completed postal votes on behalf of other members of the electorate in an attempt to tackle so-called “harvesting”.

Electors could also be asked to re-apply for a postal ballot every three years, while police and electoral officials will be given greater powers to tackle intimidation outside polling stations.