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Voting ID laws for Westminster General Elections ‘will confuse voters’ in Wales says Counsel General

29 Mar 2022 3 minutes Read
Voting in Wales

A Welsh Government minister has said that forcing people in Wales to take ID with them to vote in General Elections will “confuse voters” as no such rules exist at Senedd and Council elections.

The Welsh Government has secured concessions that mean large parts of the UK Government’s Elections Bil will not apply to Senedd and local government elections in Wales, both of which are devolved.

However, ID will still be required at Westminster General Elections as those are reserved to the UK Parliament, Counsel General Mick Antoniw said.

“The UK Government plans for voter ID risk making voting harder,” he said. “Though the proposals won’t apply to devolved elections, they will apply to general elections in Wales and I’m concerned this will confuse voters. We have shared our concerns with the UK Government.”

The Senedd will vote on the passage of the UK Government’s Elections Bill today.

The Bill proposes the introduction of mandatory photo ID, as well as measures relating to the administration and conduct of elections, overseas electors and UK citizens, and amendments to the role of the Electoral Commission.

The Welsh Government’s concessions include removing a proposed provision that would have allowed the Secretary of State to direct the Electoral Commission in the discharge of its devolved functions in Wales.

In a Legislative Consent Motion, to be voted on in the Senedd on Tuesday, the Welsh Government is recommending consent is given in two specific areas only – digital imprints and an offence of voter intimidation.

‘Open’

Mick Antoniw, Counsel General and Minister for the Constitution, said: “The concessions we have secured to this Bill represent a success for devolution. The Welsh Government is committed to making elections as open and accessible as possible, and to do all in its power to increase participation.

“This is why 16 and 17 year olds and qualifying foreign citizens will be able to vote in local elections in Wales for the first time this May. We are also running pilot schemes in four local authorities designed to make it easier for people to vote at a time and a place that is convenient for them.”

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Constitution, Darren Millar MS, had previously described the Welsh Government’s push for concessions as “nothing more than mischief-making from the Welsh Government and its allies”.

“Voters in Wales have nothing to fear from these proposals. The only people who should be concerned are those who intend to commit election fraud,” he said.

“People are required to present ID to vote in many vibrant democracies around the world including Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, France, Iceland and Italy so I see no reason why this shouldn’t be the norm here in Wales.”


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GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
1 month ago

The reality is that i’m going to stop voting in the westminster elections as its now a complete irrelevance when any MP voted in is a sycophantic little tvrd towards the country that invaded ours, especially as the english are cutting our mp representation there which makes them even more irrelevant and a waste of time. What is the point of even having Welsh mp’s there? They do nothing and abstain from voting on Welsh matters or if they are tory, deliberately starve kids from poor households

Erisian
Erisian
1 month ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Still not a good enough reason not to vote.
Think of it as a humaniatrian effort to save the English from their own worse intincts and vote to get rid of a Conservative and Unionist candidate before they drag us all down with them

Rob Pountney
Rob Pountney
1 month ago

‘Vibrant democracies’, yes, the Netherlands has a vibrant democracy, this is because they have a very fair PR voting system & voter registration is automatic… The UK however does not have a vibrant democracy…

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

The only reason the Tories want ID at elections is that they know it’ll be the poorest, refugees and immigrants (the people they hate the most) who are more likely not to have ID. It is that group of people who are most likely – not to vote for them. Upon independence we can ban this cruel behaviour completely, democracy is where ‘everyone’ can vote ‘freely’.

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Have to disagree with you here – citizens have the right to vote freely. As much as I dislike the Conservative and Unionist Party, the presentation of ID is not a high bar for voting, and goes a long way (with very little financial outlay, if any) in securing against potential fraud. For those who, for whatever reason, have difficulty in obtaining or renewing valid ID, steps should be taken to make that process easy, cheap/free and universal. Imagine a situation where second-home owners (who’d effectively be foreign nationals, let’s say) in a Free Wales were able to vote in… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

Please do not mention ” fraud” when talking of elections in Britain. In answer to a commons question Matt Hancock said there were 6 cases of fraud at the last general election, from 47.6 million voters. Fraud is not a problem here and never has been. If we follow the logic of this argument , then we should imprison everybody, as they may in future commit a crime.

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

Wuh? That’s not quite how logic works – insteadvof pre-arresting everyone, maybe we could apply some small safeguarding measures… Like ID requirements. 6 (verified) cases of fraud could mean several things – no clear indication of how many votes could have been effectively negated by these crimes. And that’s the point, voter fraud (in all its forms) is a crime. If there were 6 active serial killers in a population of 60ish million, would you say “don’t bother investigating, it’d be a waste of police resources?” Plus, not every vote cast without eligibility is an act of fraud – that… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

You are equating voter fraud to serial killers. That is one hell of a jump. What next, the death penalty for school truants, voter fraud is not an issue in this country, if we start to propose laws on what might happen we will have no freedoms left.

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

Come on, mun! you can’t have read what I posted and believe I’m equating voter fraud and serial killers, unless you just read the words serial killers, thus missing my point. So you think I’m suggesting a life tariff for those found guilty of not presenting an id before voting? Duw mowr – requiring an ID, proof of citizenship to cast your vote isn’t an imposition. Fraud (personation), as uncommon as it may be, occurs in every parliamentary election and many other elections too. This simple ask goes some way to fixing that. It can be made easy, providing access… Read more »

defaid
defaid
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

ID may not present a high bar and in certain cases the same can be said for photo ID.

The problem lies in the fact that Westminster, and the current UK government especially, may specify which particular photo ID is valid in order to disenfranchise undesirable portions of the electorate.

For example, if they had been free in Wales to specify a minimum of a full driving licence but not a students’ union card, what would that have done for the minimum voting age?

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  defaid

I’m really not sure that the “undesirable portions of the electorate” argument stands up well to scrutiny. As I said before, any suspected impediment facing those who may find it hard/are not aware how to acquire a valid ID solves the issue (as well as being a pretty good public service in and of itself). The current electoral systems are rather antiquated and potentially gamable – the tower hamlets mayoral fraud a few years back took an age to uncover. Being a left-leaning Liberal means I’m reluctant to back most governmental measures. This one helps secure the democratic principles most… Read more »

Kurt C
Kurt C
1 month ago
Reply to  defaid

Banks already are stern on ID. Daughter had to come home to get passport in one instance as drivers license wasn’t good enough(irony photo is the same source for both) . So you are so right it’s open for abuse.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

I’m just being cynical about Tory motives, I don’t believe they are concerned about electoral fraud at all. Personally I don’t think it’s a big issue in the UK.

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

I get it, once you’ve been slapped by a tory toilet brush a few hundred times you may doubt they’re now offering you a lollipop… And goodness knows where they’ve been keeping it. I’ve known a few Old Etonians…

Kurt C
Kurt C
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

What fraud, the evidence is that fraud is so little, barely ever found. This is a Tory voter tax, removing freedoms.

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  Kurt C

Showing ID that you already have (or could easily acquire – and I’m fully in favour of finding a way to make it universal, minimally intrusive of personal privacy and cheap/free) is not removing a freedom. ID to fly, to drive, to get into a pub and buy a drink etc. As for fraud, Tower Hamlets had a mayor for nearly a full year who employed many aspects of electoral fraud to gain Office, including personation. There are many ways to attack the Tories – doing so based on a proposal that’s in line with many political parties worldwide, right… Read more »

Llefain
Llefain
1 month ago

Westminster are pro voter suppression. No surprises there. Those least likely to have ID are not their core voters. The GOP were very clear about their reasons for this exact ID argument in America, pretending voter fraud was an issue when it is provably not. Same applies here. It’s not even subtle. But then, when have Cons ever been pro democracy. Some political posturers will likely use the obvious concerns about the costs of ID supressing certain votes as an opportunity to appear “reasonable” by offering free ID… but only if it is in the form of citizenship cards that… Read more »

Grayham Jones
1 month ago

Kick all English party’s out of wales that’s the Tories Labour and all Brexit party’s it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 vote Plaid Cymru 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

The sly Conservative methodology of manipulating the system to their own advantage is a mark of a tinpot dictatorship.

And the idea of mass voter fraud
was the impetus for electoral change is the bastion of Trumpian politics., as the only fraudsters we should be concerned about come next General Election is Boris Johnson and his Cymrophobe Conservative party idocracy in London.

.

Last edited 1 month ago by Y Cymro
Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

And we can be thankful that our Gov has some controll on voting, because in England, following big wins for Labour in the mayoral elections, the Tory’s are proposing to change the voting from PR to first past the post, Prof Tony Travers of the LSE claims the change will give the Tory party a better chance of success. Gerrymandering anybody.

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