Voting is a right – no to voter ID

To Chloe Smith, minister for the constitution:

Making people show ID to vote in elections is an ill-thought out plan that will mean many poor and vulnerable people will be locked out of voting. This must be scrapped.

The government wants to introduce a new law that will require everyone to show photo ID when voting in general elections.

But many of the poorest and most vulnerable in our society don’t have a passport or driving license, and the cost of getting one can be too much if you’re on a low income. 3.5 million people currently don’t have photo IDs.

The government has suggested that there may be a free voter ID card that people can get, but there are no details of how that would work yet. Even with a free ID, you’d need to hear about it and apply in time for the election, or risk being turned away at the polling station.

The proposed law will put extra obstacles in the way for people to vote who lack the skills or funds to know about the new rules and get the necessary ID in time.

The thought that people can be locked out of voting is scary.

And this is being suggested by a government who knows that the people most likely to be affected, are the ones who are least likely to vote for them.

The government claims that the new law will reduce voter fraud. However, there is no proof that this is a big problem in the UK. In 2018, the official statistics watchdog even rebuked the government’s claim that this type of electoral fraud is increasing.

If anything, the government should spend less time coming up with solutions to the very rare problem of electoral fraud at the polling booths, and instead worry about their own electoral standards. Especially in light of the Electoral Commission mounting a formal investigation into the funding of Boris Johnson’s Downing Street refurbishment.

Voting is our right – not a privilege. All plans of voter ID requirements at the polling booth must be scrapped immediately.


Highlighted comments

“No one should be denied a rightful vote simply because they lack a photographic ID card. Electoral transgression in this country has been negligible – apart from that committed by the Vote Leave Campaign for which they were found guilty. The same people who now are trying to limit the rightful votes of others they oppose.”

Leonora, Oxford

“Not everyone has photo ID – many do not drive or have a passport. Voting is a right and we need to encourage people to exercise that right, not put them off with unnecessary bureaucracy.”

Kath, Lancashire

“I’m signing because this is deliberately brought in to disenfranchise poor voters who can’t afford a passport or driving licence. It’s a disgrace.”

Jonathan, Liverpool

“This and other measures in the Queen’s Speech are straight up voter suppression attempts. Instead of trying to appeal to voters with policies, the Tories want to lock in their position by cheating. It’s copied from the worst bits of the US Republicans and it must not stand.”

Alison, Hull

“For a government who have rejected identity cards (didn’t Johnson say he would eat his?) to bring in voter identity cards is an attempt to disenfranchise the poor and marginalised and exclude potential Labour voters.”

Nadine, Hertfordshire

“This is likely to reduce turn out rather than increase it which is what is needed in a democracy. I have seen no evidence of voter fraud and therefore this change seems completely unnecessary.”

Helen, Norwich

“I’d prefer the government spent their time and energy on the problems which exist, rather than the ones in their imagination. Or is this an underhand way to disenfranchise people?”

Mary, Leicestershire

 

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