Now take your ID when you go to vote

Daily Mail - - News - By Ja­son Groves Po­lit­i­cal Edi­tor

VOT­ERS in five ar­eas of Eng­land are to be re­quired to show ID for the first time in an elec­tion next year, in an ef­fort to cut fraud.

If suc­cess­ful, the trial could be ex­tended across the coun­try.

The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion rec­om­mended in 2014 that vot­ers should be re­quired to prove their iden­tity be­fore cast­ing a bal­lot.

Some 44 peo­ple in the 2016 lo­cal elec­tions were caught try­ing to use an­other in­di­vid­ual’s vote, known as ‘per­son­ation’ – up from 21 in 2014.

Pi­lot tests will be held at lo­cal elec­tions in Wok­ing, Gosport, Brom­ley, Wat­ford and Slough in May 2018, with photo and non­photo ID be­ing tri­alled in dif­fer­ent ar­eas to see which works best.

The east Lon­don bor­ough of Tower Ham­lets, which has been the sub­ject of al­most half of all elec­toral fraud claims in the past five years, told min­is­ters it could not in­tro­duce voter ID in time for next year.

In­stead it will run a sep­a­rate pi­lot ex­am­in­ing the se­cu­rity of postal votes, in­clud­ing spot checks to en­sure peo­ple know they have voted and live where they say they do.

It fol­lows an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into voter fraud by for­mer Tory chair­man Sir Eric Pick­les. The re­port iden­ti­fied 18 lo­cal au­thor­i­ties which had had sig­nif­i­cant prob­lems with elec­toral fraud in re­cent years.

Vot­ers in North­ern Ire­land have had to prove their iden­tity at polling sta­tions since 1985, with photo ID re­quired since 2003. There have been no cases of per­son­ation in the prov­ince since 2003.

Con­sti­tu­tion min­is­ter Chris Skid­more said: ‘For peo­ple to have con­fi­dence in our demo­cratic pro­cesses we need to en­sure our elec­tions are safe­guarded against any threat or per­cep­tion of elec­toral fraud.

‘ The cur­rent sit­u­a­tion of peo­ple sim­ply point­ing out their name with­out hav­ing to prove who they are feels out of date … It is harder to take out a li­brary book or col­lect a par­cel at a post of­fice than it is to vote in some­one’s name.’

The Elec­toral Com­mis­sion’s Claire Bas­sett wel­comed the move and said find­ings would be pub­lished next year ahead of a pos­si­ble na­tional roll­out.

But Lib Dem MP Tom Brake said: ‘This is a com­pletely un­nec­es­sary move that risks un­der­min­ing our democ­racy.

‘Ev­i­dence from around the world tells us forc­ing vot­ers to bring ID won’t stop de­ter­mined fraud­sters, but is likely to lead to even lower turnouts amongst young peo­ple and mi­nor­ity groups.’

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