Measures to introduce voter ID checks at polling stations are disproportionate – there was only one conviction for voter fraud in the last general election and the new measures will cost the government £20 million.
Also, the measures will unfairly affect specific sections of society. Approximately 3.5 million eligible UK voters do not have a form of photo ID. The Runnymede Trust reported that 38 percent of Asian people and 48 percent of Black people do not hold a driving license and only 66 percent of those with a Gypsy or Irish Traveller background have passports.
In 2021, the Electoral Commission also found that 11 percent of the unemployed, 13 percent of those renting from a local authority, 12 percent renting from a housing association and 8 percent of disabled people are likely to not have ID. Young people especially have fewer options for voting because the government repealed an amendment to the bill, which would have allowed library cards, bank statements or student IDs to be counted as acceptable forms of ID.
In addition to disadvantaging certain groups, obtaining photo ID means time away from work and other responsibilities. It is possible to apply online for a Voter Authority Certificate. But it is concerning that, in two sets of pilot schemes, a third of voters who did not have correct ID did not return to vote. So, acting soon to get voter ID could make a big impact on the outcome of the local elections.
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