NEW rules, which require all voters to show photo ID at polling stations before they can vote, have been slammed as a ‘threat to democracy’, by Lib Dem Cllr Jackie Hook
While talking to people in Newton Abbot at a Liberal Democrat street stall on Saturday, Cllr Hook told the MDA: ‘I was surprised at the number of people who didn’t realise they needed photo ID to vote.
‘Unlike many other European countries, the UK does not have a mandatory national ID card. For this reason, the sudden introduction of photo ID as a requirement for voting will disenfranchise significant numbers of people, without time, awareness, or perhaps means to obtain one.’
Cllr Martin Wrigley, Lib Dem Parliamentary candidate, said: ‘We signed up many people for postal votes, because they wouldn’t have any acceptable photo ID, which include valid passports and driving licences.
‘I’ve taken up the issue of Blue Badge holders getting parking fines while voting with Devon County Council.’
The Conservative government introduced the move by passing the Election Act 2022..
The local elections for Teignbridge District Council and town and parish councils on Thursday, May 4, will be the first time the scheme will be used.
Voter ID will also feature in the general election expected in 2024.
Cllr Colin Parker said: ‘Nationally, an estimated two million people (4% of all voters) currently lack the accepted forms of photo ID, which include passports and driving licences.
‘The richer you are, the more likely you are to have ID. Many citizens who can’t afford to go on holiday don’t have passports, and those that can’t drive don’t have driving licences.’
While people who wish to vote can sign up for a voter authority certificate, only 20,000 have applied since the scheme was introduced in January.
Cllr David Corney-Walker said: ‘It’s a lot of hassle and time consuming to get a voter authority certificate, we want more people using their democratic right to vote, not put barriers in their way.
‘This country has low levels of proven electoral fraud.
‘At the last general election, there was just one conviction – of a person who grabbed a ballot box to prevent others from voting.
‘This, in an election where more than 47m votes were cast!’