-- Advertisement --

Tories to push through voter ID laws despite just 1 in 44,000,000 votes being fraudulent in 2017

-- Advertisement --

Stay in touch!

Sign up to be updated with Evolve's latest stories, and for opportunities to get involved.
Loading

New figures have revealed the infinitesimal scale of voter fraud in the UK, and exposed the government’s upcoming trials of voter ID as unnecessary and disproportionate. They may even discriminate against those most likely to vote Labour.

Figures released by the Electoral Commission show that of over 44 million votes cast in 2017, there were only 28 allegations of voter impersonation. Only one of these allegations ended in a prosecution.

Despite this, the government is going ahead with trials where voters will be required to produce ID before being allowed to vote. At the local elections in May 2018, voters in Bromley, Gosport and Woking will be asked for ID.

In Bromley, this will mean either one piece of photo ID such as a driving licence or passport, or two pieces of non-photo ID, such as utility bills. Anyone who can’t produce either can apply in writing for a ‘certificate of identity’ which must include an ‘attestation in writing from a person of good standing in the community’. If you can’t provide any of these, you lose your right to vote.

The Electoral Reform Society has described the plans for voter ID as ‘unnecessary’ and ‘overbearing’. Chief Executive Darren Hughes says:

The number of alleged cases of electoral fraud involving impersonation is actually falling – and yet the government are intent on testing this draconian measure which risks excluding many legitimate voters from our democracy.

Evidence from the USA shows that the requirement to produce photo ID before being allowed to vote impacts disproportionately on African American and Democratic voters. In the presidential election of 2016, the turnout in Wisconsin was down by 200,000 because of voter ID laws. Trump won the state by 22,748 votes. And a voter ID law was struck down in North Carolina in 2016, with a court ruling that it targeted African Americans ‘with almost surgical precision’.

So it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to at least consider the possibility that the government is keen to introduce voter ID laws because the people most likely to be unable to produce the necessary ID are people on lower incomes. That is, people who are least likely to vote Tory.

Announcing the trials, then Constitution Minister Chris Skidmore said :

I am very hopeful that by taking a careful, evidence-based approach in these pilots we will be able to roll out ID in polling stations at future elections.

The fact is, however, that if the government wanted to take an ‘evidence-based approach’ it would simply reject the idea of voter ID. The evidence is that voter fraud is simply not an issue.

Labour’s shadow minister for voter engagement Cat Smith says of voter ID:

It is disappointing that rather than combating the real challenge of the millions missing out on their chance to vote, the Tories are creating further barriers to democratic engagement that will disproportionately target those on lower incomes.

But with one prosecution for voter fraud in 2017 out of 44 million votes cast, it may be that ‘creating further barriers to democratic engagement’ is precisely the point of this whole exercise.

Become An Evolve Politics Subscriber

Your subscriptions go directly into paying our writers a standard fee for every article they produce. So if you want to help us stay truly independent, please think about subscribing. We literally couldn’t function without the support of our fantastic readers.

Subscribe

Or a One-Off Donation to Evolve Politics

If you don’t want to subscribe, but still want to contribute to our project, you can make a one-off donation via the donate button below. All your donations go directly to our writers for their work in exposing injustice, inequality and unfairness.

Donate
-- Advertisement --

Evolve needs your help more than ever!

We rely on the generosity of our readers to help fund the majority of our work - but we need a little more to make ends meet and enable us to grow.

If we can reach 1,000 regular subscribers, we will become entirely financially sustainable - and we'll also have a little extra so we can build upwards and outwards to make our work have an even bigger impact.

In the last month alone, our work on the Environment Bill has helped force a change in the law for the better. And, since Evolve was founded, our uniquely viral style of journalism has repeatedly put the establishment on the back foot and helped force genuinely positive progression.

But we want to do far more - and we need your help to do it.

The best way you can help us is by becoming a Monthly or Annual subscriber. This kind of regular income allows us to better plan for the future - firstly so we can pay the bills, and then so we can set aside funds and time to work on extra projects.

However, if you can't commit to a regular payment, one-off donations - no matter how small - also make a big difference to us, and we genuinely make the most of every single penny.

So, if you appreciate the work that Evolve does and you want to see us make an even bigger impact on the world, please think about contributing to our work in whatever way you possibly can.

Tom D. Rogers

Co-Founder, Contributing Editor

Jess Miller

Co-Founder, Contributing Editor

Subscriber-Only Comments