In an effort to prevent and deter voter fraud on the scale of the last U.S. presidential election, a photo ID will now be required to vote in UK general elections, a proposal to be included in the Queen’s Speech to Parliament on Tuesday.
“Britons will have to show photo ID to vote in future general elections, ministers are poised to confirm this week,” states the Guardian.
This action is meant “as a means of tackling fraud,” while critics – who often benefit from voter fraud – are bigotedly claiming it “could deter poorer and ethnic minority voters from taking part in democracy.”
While the voter ID requirement, effective for both UK-wide and English elections, is new in some parts of the UK, Northern Ireland already requires voter ID. The Guardian notes:
“The proposal is to be included in Tuesday’s Queen’s speech, which will set out the government’s post-pandemic priorities and the laws it intends to pass in the forthcoming parliamentary session…
A requirement that all voters carry photo ID could impede people who wish to turn up at polling stations without planning ahead, given about a quarter of voters – often younger voters – do not have either a passport or driving licence, critics say.
The government has previously said people would be able to apply for a voting ID card from their local council, although this would have to be done before polling day. Early trials in some areas led to hundreds of voters being turned away.”
Another voting reform expected by ministers is a “limit on the number of postal [mail-in] votes that can be handed in on behalf of others.”
Ministers state these voting reforms are intended to “reduce the risk of electoral fraud.”
The Electoral Commission has stated that the UK “has low levels of proven electoral fraud,” citing the fact that, in 2019, there was only one conviction and one “police caution for impersonating another voter.”
The ministers are still planning to press ahead with the reforms, which are likely influenced by the massive voter fraud which occurred during the 2020 US presidential election.