England’s local elections highlight Voter ID problems

“The local elections in England held on Thursday 4th May, highlighted the concerns about the Tory Voter ID law where a number of people were unable to vote,” said Cllr Kenny MacLaren.

Cllr Kenny MacLaren has raised awareness before of the problems that will be caused by the Tory Voter ID legislation – where voters have to produce an accepted item of photo ID before they will be issued a ballot paper.  In Scotland this legislation will only apply to UK General Elections but according to a discussion at a recent Renfrewshire Valuation Joint Board (RVJB – which oversees the electoral roll for Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde) it was estimated that anywhere between 5,000 and 16,000 people may fail the photo ID test and be refused a vote!

According to this new legislation, voters would have to provide approved photographic proof of their identity before being allowed to vote.  Those without acceptable ID (such as a photocard driving licence or a passport) may be able to apply to the council for a Voter Authority Certificate – although the details of these and how to apply for them are still unclear.

Councillor Kenny MacLaren added:

“Voter ID poses a real threat to the UK general election next year as countless reports of voters being turned away at polling stations during the local elections in England emerge.

“It seems the Tory plan to exclude people from voting has worked as certain groups have not been able to cast their vote.  The Tories are barring people from taking part in democracy, in a desperate attempt to cling on longer in government.

There is little to no evidence of voter fraud in Renfrewshire and Scotland which these proposals are meant to tackle – it’s clear this is just a Tory attempt to stop people mainly from low income areas from voting – knowing that they are unlikely to ever vote Tory!

“We should be making elections more accessible, not throwing up barriers to discourage people from voting as these voter ID plans will do,”