I believe that the British public deserves to have confidence in our democracy, and the clear potential for electoral fraud in our system risks undermining that confidence. That is why I was pleased with the evaluation of the Cabinet Office that Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford and Woking all delivered successful voter ID pilots in 2018.
I appreciate you have concerns over people being turned away at polling stations, but I hope you are reassured by the evidence which shows the majority of voters who turned up to vote without identification returned later with their documents without problem. I am also pleased that polling station staff overwhelmingly judged that they had been able to successfully deliver the ID requirements in their polling stations. I fully agree on the need to ensure people are able to vote freely in our elections, which is why it was important necessary that locally issued ID was made available free of charge whenever an elector was unsure if they could produce identification.
You may like to know the independent Electoral Commission has published its own review of the voter ID pilot schemes. The Commission shares the view of the Cabinet Office that the pilots worked well overall, and it is encouraging that their main recommendation was for the Government to encourage a wider range of local councils to run pilot schemes in the May local elections.
A diverse range of ten local authorities took part in Voter ID and postal vote pilots for the 2019 local elections. I am encouraged that the Electoral Commission’s evaluation of the May pilots found that the voter ID requirement had a positive impact on people’s perceptions of the security of the polling station process. The Cabinet Office evaluation also reported strong levels of confidence in participating local authorities that there were sufficient safeguards to prevent electoral fraud.
I look forward to seeing how ministers will consider this evidence in their decisions for national rollout of the programme.
Last updated October 2019