UK says voter ID rules eliminate ‘inexcusable potential’ for voter fraud
The UK government’s plan to introduce voter identification aims to eradicate the “inexcusable potential” for someone to steal another person’s vote at the polling station, a Cabinet Office spokesperson said.
Responding to calls from the opposition Labor Party and mainly leftist groups for the government to abandon the electoral reform planthe spokesperson said on Thursday: âIn our current electoral system, there is an inexcusable potential for someone to vote for another at the polling station.
âStealing someone’s vote is stealing their vote and that’s why we are introducing legislation to eliminate the potential for fraud.â
A group of 17 civil society groups urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to drop the plans, arguing they would pull the drawbridge for millions of voters without photo ID and turn office workers of voting as âde facto bouncersâ.
The Labor Party approved the call. Cat Smith, the shadow minister for Labor Democracy, said these “respected” civil rights groups “knew firsthand the undemocratic and discriminatory impact of these voter identification plans.”
But the Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “Recently published research shows that 98% of people already have the required ID and we will work with the electoral sector and make the new requirements clear to the public ahead of the elections.”
Details of acceptable forms of identity have not yet been laid out, but a free “local voter card” issued by local governments will be available, Downing Street said.
He said 99.6% of people participating in pilots requiring people to present photo ID were able to vote without difficulty.
The Conservative Party’s 2019 election manifesto pledged to introduce the requirement to produce ID to vote at a polling station.
Boris Johnson rejected suggestions that the plan aimed to suppress opposition votes as “complete nonsense”.
“I would say that was completely absurd and that what we want to do is protect democracy, transparency and the integrity of the electoral process,” he said at a press conference on Monday.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons, told Parliament on Thursday that “having photographic identification helps prevent a problem from arising.”
âThis country has an electoral system that people can be proud of and people can trust. We must not let this trust slip away. “
Referring to previous electoral controversies in the United States, Rees-Mogg said: âWe don’t want to suspend the chads and then deal with them afterwards; we want to stop hanging chads before it becomes a problem, and before personalization becomes a risk, it’s totally reasonable to ask people to show up with their photo ID or get it to their local council so they can vote.
âI fear this is absolutely classic on the part of the socialists – they have no confidence in their own voters.
âWe have confidence in our voters. We believe that our constituents will not find it unduly onerous or obligatory to show up with some kind of identity document. “
PA contributed to this report.