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Welsh Tories claim there’s ‘nothing to fear’ from bill that bans those without ID from voting

13 Sep 2021 3 minutes Read
Darren Millar. Picture by the National Assembly.

There is “nothing to fear” from a Bill that would ban those without ID from voting, the Welsh Tories have claimed.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Constitution, Darren Millar has criticised the Welsh Government for refusing to recommend legislative consent to the UK Elections Bill.

The Bill, which would impact General Elections and PCC elections in Wales, has been described as a “costly barrier to democracy” by Jess Blair, Director of Electoral Reform Society Cymru.

While Counsel General Mick Antoniw has said it imposes “unnecessary constraints” on voting and has warned of “unintended consequences” if the Bill becomes law.

However, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Constitution, Darren Millar MS has said: “This is 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.

“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.”

He added: “If people have to present ID to collect a parcel from the Royal Mail then I cannot see a problem with them presenting ID to cast their vote in an election.”

But Counsel General Mick Antoniw said that the Welsh Government is pushing for amendments to the legislation.

‘Unnecessary constraints’

“The Welsh Government does not support the introduction of voter ID, the placing of unnecessary constraints on postal and proxy voting, or the extension of the overseas franchise,” he said.

“We are content that the Bill does not apply these to Wales, but we are concerned about potential unintended consequences such as voter and candidate confusion and complexity for administrators.”

He added that he was concerned with changes to the Electoral Committee and its relationship with the Llywydd’s Committee which scrutinises it.

“I cannot, therefore, currently recommend consent to the Bill. We are working with the UK Government with a view to seeking amendments to the Bill to reflect our policy position,” he said.

Jess Blair, Director of Electoral Reform Society Cymru (Wales), said that the Elections Bill makes “sweeping changes to our democracy”.

“It looks like UK ministers have barely engaged with Wales or Scotland so far,” she said. “This bill is being swiftly rammed through with little consultation, so it’s time for ministers to pause and rethink.

“Let’s be clear – this bill would ban anyone without ID from voting, while forcing over-stretched council workers to become bouncers at the ballot box, turning away potentially thousands of would-be voters each election. There is simply no need for this costly barrier to democracy. At a cost of up to £180m per decade, forcing this through is a strange priority for UK ministers right now.

“Moreover, the changes to the Electoral Commission represent a UK government power grab, with ministers given new controls over our elections watchdog. This is a dangerous and unprecedented move that the Welsh Government is right to oppose.

“This Elections Bill could lead to a ‘two tier franchise’ in Wales, with some elections banning those without ID, and others remaining open and free. Both the Welsh Parliament and Holyrood should use their powers to pause this power-grab bill, and secure changes to protect the right to vote.”

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William Glyn THOMAS
William Glyn THOMAS
13 days ago

When Wales gains INDEPENDENCE we can decide for ourselves.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
13 days ago

There isn’t a problem with voting fraud, yet the English government claim there is. Why? This reeks of what they are doing in the far right states in the US.

Mark
Mark
13 days ago

Where there is a requirement for voter ID, there is proven voter suppression, the research is out there. The only ones that are mischief making, are the tories as usual.

Erisian
Erisian
13 days ago

It is obscene that the Conservative and Unionist party are claiming voter fraud without evidence to ‘fix’ somethinmg that isn’t broken. This is dishonest and unacceptable.
And trust me ‘FIX’ is exactly what they are trying to do.
It is the most disadvantaged (those who may not have a driving license or a current passport) who will be affected, those with chaotic lives, chronic illness or poor mental health. This is a nasty card from the GOP playbook weilded by a Nasty-Party with a Nasty Home Secretary and Nasty Intentions.

Vaughan
Vaughan
13 days ago

Will you have to attach a passport photo to your postal vote?

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
13 days ago

Does this mean the government is saying there has been so much voter fraud that recent election results should be declared invalid or unsafe? All those MPs and MSs need another election with voter ID before they have a mandate to pass any laws?
Thought not.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
13 days ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

Spot on. And any fraud commited was by the Tory party when they fooled 51.89% of the UK electorate into voting for Brexit in 2016.

Last edited 13 days ago by Y Cymro
hdavies15
hdavies15
13 days ago

I was in favour of voter ID….. then I heard that UK Tories think it’s good. I won’t bother advocating it again until I’m in more balanced saner company.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
13 days ago

If you believe Conservative quisling Darren Miller’s reassurances on the matter, are a fools! This bill is designed to alienate and deter the electorate in poor areas of Wales from voting, and those communities usually don’t vote Tory. As highlighted before in other discussions. Not everybody has a passport or driving licence as proof of identity, and to get the relevant paperwork costs time & resources, especially if it requires information from government agencies. The Tories know exactly what they are doing. And this bill proposed is a cynical Tory ploy to cement their Westminster rule in-perpetuity by engineering a… Read more »

Last edited 13 days ago by Y Cymro
Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
13 days ago

The Tories are only pushing this as they believe it will aid them in future elections. There is little electoral fraud during UK elections and this Bill will just disenfranchise thousands if not millions of people.You may say these people should have indentification but many haven’t as they’ve been denied it by the UK government and many have lived in this country for years.The Bill smacks of the hostile environment we now see in the UK and one of the reasons we should get out.

Aled Rees
Aled Rees
13 days ago

as the bishop of tŷ ddewi said.never ever,ever trust a tory.

Paul
Paul
13 days ago

Voter fraud is not a problem in the UK. The Tories are proposing a solution to a non problem. The major breach of electoral law in recent times was of course committed by the ‘Vote Leave’ campaign in 2016 for which it was fined.

George
George
13 days ago

Voter ID is the headline grabbing topic but about a third of what this proposed bill will do.

Arguably, voter ID is the most acceptable part of this bill.

Grayham Jones
12 days ago

Kick all English party’s out of wales that’s the Tories Labour and all Brexit party’s stop being little Englanders and and be proud to be welsh it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 A Free Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

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