Just been to vote. Was informed that two people had already turned up without ID this morning so had been unable to vote. Very worrying and backs up all the evidence that the voter ID pilot in Bromley is plain wrong.
— Ellie Reeves (@elliereeves) May 3, 2018
This is also happening in Swindon Borough where some who have none of the approved ID have also not received their ballot cards.
— Sarah Bowles (@sarahbowlesuk) May 3, 2018
In none of the test areas has there been a case of personation in past decade
Today sees the start of what is being seen by critics as a move by the Tories, the party that lost its majority last June, to impede people’s ability to take part in elections.
There’s a trial taking place in five areas where those who cannot produce a valid ID will be barred from voting. The is taking place at all polling stations in Bromley, Watford, Woking, Swindon and Gosport.
The weird thing is that there hasn’t been a case of personation in any of these areas of England in more than a decade. Critics are describing the trial ‘a solution in search of a problem’.
A huge problem is that quite a significant proportion of the population do not have any form of identity because, of course, unlike many other countries there is no national identity card system.
Of course those with a driving licence or a passport have something that is instantly available and in at least one of the test areas a bank card will suffice. But not everyone will be able to comply.
The real problem is that this could be seen as a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Some critics have asserted that this is the Tories seeking to impede non-Tories from voting the assumption being that blue team voters are more likely to find it easy to meet the ID requirement.
Whether that is right or not I do not know. No doubt there will be a huge amount of scrutiny of election patterns in the 5 areas with comparisons in similar authorities where normal voting is going on.
As a general rule it is far better for moves about changing the way democracy operates to be based on cross party consensus. No doubt we’ll hear the ID issue being cited as a factor tonight where parties don’t meet expectations.