Councils selected for voter ID pilots

5 Nov 18

A total of 11 local authorities will pilot new voter identification methods next year in an attempt to stamp out electoral fraud.

Councils across England will trial one of four new ways to confirm voter ID for the 2019 local elections including a requirement for photo ID and adding scannable barcodes to poll cards, the Cabinet Office said.

Constitution minister Chloe Smith said the pilots would help government “gain a deeper understanding of how voter ID will work on a wider scale – and what works best for our voters”.

She added that elections needed to be safeguarded against any perception of electoral fraud.

“People are already required to show ID to pick up a parcel from the Post Office, rent a car, or apply for benefits, and this is a common sense next step to securing the integrity of our elections,” Smith said.

The pilot authorities will test one of four models of voter ID checks:

  • photo ID
  • photo and non-photo ID
  • traditional poll cards
  • poll cards with scannable barcodes

Craig Westwood, director of communications and research for the Electoral Commission, said: “Our key recommendation following the 2018 voter ID pilots was that any future pilots should include a wider range of local councils, taking a mixture of rural and large urban areas with different demographic profiles.

“We are pleased to see this reflected in the proposed list of authorities for 2019, to provide more detailed evidence about the impact of voter identification on different groups of people.”

The local authorities piloting next year will be:

  • Pendle
  • East Staffordshire
  • Woking
  • Ribble Valley
  • Broxtowe
  • Derby
  • North Kesteven
  • Braintree
  • Mid Sussex
  • Watford
  • North West Leicestershire

A Cabinet Office paper published in August estimated that rolling out voter ID measures nationally would cost between £4m and £20m.

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