Monday 17 June 2024

Genuine Proof of Person


My government doesn’t trust me at my word.

Before 2023, all I had to do to vote was take my polling card to the polling station, have one of the election officials check my name off against their list of registered voters and then I would vote. Now I have to show photo ID to vote, but not any photo ID, only one of the nineteen legally approved photo IDs. Why the change in the law? There’s been no voter fraud scandal.

There has been no large-scale electoral fraud in Britain, and since 2019 eleven people have received convictions for it and four people have received policecautions. This is hardly an epidemic of it, 11 convictions out of 46,000,000 voters in the UK. But since 2019, 18 members of parliament have been suspended from parliament for offences that include: misusing campaignfunds, harassment, comparing Covid vaccinations to the holocaust, antisemitism,domestic violence, sexual offenses, sexual assault and a rape arrest. All of these are serious offences. In the same time period, an additional 10 MPs resigned before they could be suspended. This is 28 MPs breaking the rules, out of 650 MPs, since 2019, a little under three times the number of people convicted of electoral fraud. Also, since 2rd June, Robert Largan, the Conservative candidate for High Peak in Derbyshire, has been under investigation by the police for election fraud. So why do we need to show ID when we vote? On the evidence, we need to tighten up regulations on MPs’ behavior.

There have already been some high profile cases of people being turned away from polling stations for not having the required ID. Boris Johnson was turned away,in May, when he tried to vote in the local elections because he didn’t have therequired photo ID. This was Boris Johnson and the chance that it was a publicity stunt is high, he hasn’t featured in newspaper headlines for quite some time, and he returned with the required ID. Adam Diver, a former British soldier, was turned away from his polling station when he tried to usehis military ID to vote, a government issued ID. This is because the government has set a very narrow, and very bias, list of approved photo ID, we can only use one of nineteen different forms of ID.

This list of approved voter ID is neither fair or equal.

Of the 19 forms of ID 10 are available to adults, 8 forms are available to the over 65s only, and only one form of ID is specific to young people, but the breakdown of these approved IDs is even more worrying. Of 10 forms of ID available without age restrictions, not all of them are available to everyone. Of them:

1 is a Ministry of Defense Form (but not military ID),

1 is the Blue Badge disabled parking permit,

1 is an immigration document,

1 is the EU citizen’s ID,

1 is available to Scottish citizens only,

1 is available to Welsh citizens only.

This leaves only four forms of approved ID available to general voters, one form of approved ID is specific to young people, while 8 different approved IDs are only available to the over 65s. This law was passed by the Conservative Party and is obviously bias towards the age group who traditionally vote for them, the elderly. This is gerrymandering of the worst sort, rigging election regulations against your political opponents.

This isn’t only my opinion. Jacob Rees-Mogg, a minister in Boris Johnson’s government and the one responsible for rallying MPs to vote for this law, said, "Parties that try and gerrymander end up finding that their clever scheme comes back to bite them, as dare I say we found by insisting on voter ID for elections.” He actually admitted that this law was intended to disenfranchise the voters who didn’t vote for the Conservatives. This is unacceptable, a law that is intended to discriminate against a section of our society. Our government should be governing for all of the country, not just the section of the country who they think will vote for them.

This law first impacted the May 2023 local elections. A report from then found that 14,000 people were turned away from polling stations because they didn’t have the right ID, about 0.25% of total voters. The report also found 4% of people who did not vote said it was because of not having the required voter ID. But it also found that the number of people turned away from polling stations for not having the right photo ID was probably much higher because almost 40% of polling stations used “greeters”, who told voters what ID was needed before they entered the polling station. That 14,000 was only the number turned away inside the polling station, if they didn’t enter there, because they didn’t have the right ID, then they weren’t counted as being turned away. In reality, it was probably a much larger number of people who didn’t vote because of the need for voter ID. A poll earlier this year found that 14% of voters were still unaware of the need for voter ID.

But there are big holes in this voter ID requirement. You don’t need any photo ID to use postal voting. All you need is your address, your National Insurance number and the date of the election you want to cast your postal vote in. You don’t need to provide any photo ID, let alone one off a small, approved list. You can also apply for an official voter photo ID, to be used just to cast your vote, called a Voter Authority Certificate’. To obtain one of these you’ll need a recent, digital photo of yourself, your National Insurance number and your address, nothing more, certainly not photo ID. This gives the lie to the claim that voter ID is to stop voter fraud. Here are two ways to vote were you don’t need any one of the 19 required photo IDs. But this law was never about voter fraud, it was about gerrymandering, about reducing the ability to vote for people who won’t vote for the Conservative Party.

We are well over due voter reform in this country. When the new government comes into office, they need to repeal this dishonest law, The Elections Act 2022.


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