Election ballot box

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on democracy and the constitution has released a new report on the impact of mandatory voter ID in elections. The report found that the introduction of voter ID in this year’s elections led to discrimination on the grounds of race and disability.

Democratic reform campaign group Unlock Democracy have since responded to the report’s findings, saying that voter ID is a ‘costly failure that’s damaging UK democracy’.

Shaun Roberts, Director of Campaigns at Unlock Democracy, said: “The evidence is stacking up that Voter ID is a costly failure that’s damaging UK democracy.  It should be abandoned before significantly greater damage is done at a UK General Election.

“The chaos inflicted by the government’s reckless introduction of photo voter ID for the 2023 local elections was predictable and predicted. We made it clear to the government on numerous occasions – both before the policy was enacted and in the lead-up to the local elections – that it would do more harm than good.

“As the report identifies, the current Voter ID system is a “poisoned cure”. Initial analysis by the Electoral Commission showed that at least 14,000 people were robbed of their right to vote for not having the right ID, and we expect the final figure to be much, much higher.

“The government’s free Voter ID card own figures stated that 2 million people did not have an accepted form of photo ID, but only a tiny fraction of those applied for the Government’s free ID card scheme.

“Poll watchers at the time of the local elections suggested that those being turned away were disproportionately from minority communities. Today’s report adds weight to those findings and reveals that voter ID meant disabled people were also subject to discrimination.

“Voter ID is a solution to a non-existent problem. Out of 58 million votes cast across three elections in 2019 elections, one person was convicted of voter impersonation.

“The government knew the risks long in advance, and despite multiple warnings did nowhere enough to ensure the system worked effectively or fairly. We’re calling on the government to scrap this expensive, unnecessary policy before it robs thousands more voters of their rights at the next general election.”

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Image credit: Element5 – Creative Commons