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Up to 100k Welsh people may be robbed of their vote because of photo-identity law

28 Jun 2024 4 minute read
Photo Yau Ming Low

Martin Shipton

Nearly 100,000 people in Wales face losing the opportunity to participate in the general election because of a “voter suppression” law introduced by the Conservatives.

Individuals attending polling stations will have to produce either a specified photo identification document like a passport or a pre-approved Voter Authority Certificate (VAC).

UK Government figures show that since the July 4 election was called there have been just 57,418 applications for VACs, which can be used at polling stations as proof of identity by people who do not have any of the accepted forms of ID they need to vote.

The deadline for VAC applications was 5pm on Wednesday June 26). The figures also show that there have been only 214,051 applications for VACs since January 2023, when they were introduced. However, that figure is still dwarfed by the nearly two million voters estimated to not have an accepted form of ID. VACs do not expire but they have a recommended renewal printed on them that is 10 years after the date of issue.

The Electoral Reform Society

The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) is warning that the rules around voter ID risk causing further confusion at polling stations on election day after thousands of voters have already been caught out by voter ID rules at local elections.

Jess Blair, Director of the Electoral Reform Society Cymru said: “We know thousands in Wales aren’t likely to have the correct ID to vote in next week’s election, and these figures suggest many have missed out on their chance to be able to cast their vote.

“Voter ID has only been used in one election in Wales so far- in May’s Police and Crime Commissioner elections, which had a turnout of only 17%. That means that for many voters the general election will be the first where they turn up to a polling station and are asked for their ID.

“There is also a real risk of confusion in Wales. Other elections, such as the Senedd and local elections do not require voter ID, so we are left with a confusing patchwork of rules, where barriers are in place for some elections but removed for others.

“The next UK Government should look again at this damaging policy that risks many being turned away next week.”

local elections

At least 14,000 people were prevented from casting their vote at the 2023 local elections in England due to a lack of accepted ID. During this year’s English local elections, we again saw people being caught out, including a decorated Afghanistan veteran who was unable to use his veteran’s ID card, and even Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister who brought in the voter ID laws

The issue of veterans’ ID is a particular area where there could be confusion on July 4 as the government pledged after the local elections to add veterans’ ID to the list of accepted ID, but the Electoral Commission has said new forms of ID won’t be added to the list of acceptable ID for this coming general election.

On the latest estimates, there are 46,560,452 people registered to vote in UK elections. Government analysis found that 4% of the population eligible to vote do not have a recognisable form of accepted voter ID. If 4% of registered voters do not have an accepted form of ID this would equate to 1,862,418 voters, including around 90,000 in Wales.

The law was pushed through by the Conservatives, who claimed it was designed to cut out voter fraud. But opponents of the move point out that there were virtually no examples of voter fraud having been identified and prosecuted.

Instead, they argue that the change is designed to make it more difficult for certain groups to vote, especially poorer and younger people who are less likely to vote Conservative.


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John Brooks
John Brooks
16 days ago

Publishing the list of acceptable ID would be useful

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

Pity the Senedd didn’t push back against this ID imposed by the polling booth scam…

but then why would they, when they are already ‘closed list scammers’…

Solicitor Politicians !

Paul ap Gareth
Paul ap Gareth
14 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

The Senedd did push back against voter ID. Which is why ID is not required for Senedd or Welsh local elections. The only elections that require the voter ID are ones run by Westminster, i.e. MPs, PCC, and English local elections. Which the Senedd have no role in organising and therefore cannot prevent the law from being in place.

Also, all elections are closed list currently. You will vote for you MP on a closed list of one candidate. If you want to be represented by a party you must accept the candidate they are offering.

Last edited 14 days ago by Paul ap Gareth
Welsh Patriot
Welsh Patriot
16 days ago

“Robbed of their vote”
Come on Nation.Cymru ! unless you have buried your head in the sand for the past 5 years, you know you have to bring some sort of ID with you, like in nearly every other country in the world.
If people are too stupid to get some form of ID then maybe they should not be able to vote.
When I go to the Royal Mail depot to pick up a parcel, they don’t give me it on trust!

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
16 days ago
Reply to  Welsh Patriot

Ah yes, but what about the people who don’t get post?

Gareth
Gareth
15 days ago
Reply to  Rhddwen y Sais

Since the post was privatised, that would be a lot of people.

Last edited 15 days ago by Gareth
Gareth
Gareth
15 days ago
Reply to  Welsh Patriot

I have been to collect dozens of parcels at the Royal Mail depot, but have never been asked for photo ID, ID yes, but not photo ID, there is a difference. What is wrong with the card you get through the post, it’s worked for about a hundred years, no problem, and to date more Tory MP’s have been in court in the last 5 years, than people convicted of voter fraud.

Last edited 15 days ago by Gareth
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

Even Rees-Mogg said ‘Voter ID’ was a scam, a deliberate attempt to cheat…

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
16 days ago

Tories introduced this to win by hook or crook along with reducing M P,S with new boundry changes all in tories favour

DotiauSyml
DotiauSyml
16 days ago

I have my VAC, getting it online was ridiculously easy and free – all I needed was my dob, address, NAT ins number and a selfie. To be honest I could have been anyone pretending to be me …
But I can’t get my supposedly free over 60s bus pass without renewing my passport for 90 odd quid … It’s all very fishy if you ask me!

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