I am grateful for all the emails I have received from constituents regarding proposals to introduce Voter ID.
A secure electoral system is a vital component of a healthy democracy and the public must have confidence that our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century. Asking voters to bring ID to their polling station is an important way of achieving this, although it will not be introduced in time for this election in December.
Voter ID is not new – the last Labour Government introduced photo ID at polling stations across Northern Ireland in 2003. There, it has proved to be effective at tackling fraud and has not curtailed election turnout.
Identification to vote has been backed by the Electoral Commission and international election watchdogs. Five English local authorities took part in pilot schemes during local elections in 2018, and a further ten local authorities in 2019. The overwhelming majority of people cast their vote without a problem and there was no notable adverse effect on turnout.
At present, it is harder to take out a library book or collect a parcel at the post office than it is to vote in someone else’s name. Under the present proposals, anyone who doesn’t currently have ID can apply for a new, free one – ensuring that no voters will be disenfranchised.