Stop the government’s expensive plans that could lock millions out of the polling station

At a cost, estimated by the Cabinet Office, to be £120,000,000 per decade, this plan to force people to bring ID to vote is an expensive distraction from the problems the country faces. Millions of people lack ID in the UK, and these undemocratic plans risk blocking them from the ballot box. Nobody should be turned away from a polling station or have to wait in line at their local council to be approved to vote because their driving licence is still in their maiden name, or they lost their passport.

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Possession of ID is uneven in the UK, with those short on time and money less likely to have the required paperwork. These plans will make it harder for those already having a tough time to have their say.

Making it harder to vote comes at a high price. At a cost of £120m per decade – the government’s own figures – this is a colossal waste of energy and resources at a time when we should be focusing on the UK’s recovery.

Ministers should focus on the real problems facing our democracy instead, not least the nine million missing from the electoral roll, and Westminster’s warped political system.

Background

Do you have your ID?The government trialled this policy ID during the 2018 and 2019 English local elections in a handful of local authorities, with each area testing different restrictions. Even with public information campaigns, over 1,000 voters were refused a ballot for not having the right paperwork. The government now want to roll out this expensive scheme to everyone for the 2023 local elections. 

There is a reason groups as wide ranging as the Salvation Army to Stonewall, Age UK and racial equality organisations oppose these plans: they will impact some people more than others and pull up the drawbridge to people across the country. 

The Cabinet Office impact assessment estimates the policy will cost £120m over ten years. Each decade the voter ID scheme will cost £55m on more detailed polling cards, £20m on 19,851 more poll clerks, £9m for the Electoral Commission, £20m on communications, £7m on training and £2m on equipment.