The government is set to introduce tough new voter ID measures in tomorrow’s Queen’s speech, along with new electoral rules that will limit the number of postal votes a person can hand in on behalf of other people.
Mandatory voter ID rules would prevent activists from impersonating would-be voters who have communicated their disinterest in voting during routine canvassing, and new laws on postal votes would stem the tide of alleged “granny farming” in Britain’s nursing homes and vulnerable communities.
Such strong measures, reported on by The Guardian, will anger many on the left who claim that the basic voter integrity measures will disenfranchise voters – despite the government making it clear that all legally entitled voters can get a recognised form of ID from their local council if they do not have a passport or driving licence.
The rules were first touted back in February, when a Cabinet Office spokesperson said: “We will be introducing new measures, as part of the Government’s manifesto commitment, to prevent the potential for voter fraud in our electoral system.
“This will further strengthen the integrity of UK elections and will include ID checks at the polling station and rules that prevent abuse of postal and proxy votes.”
At the time, the plans were condemned by Cat Smith, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Democracy, who said: “It doesn’t matter how the government dresses it up, these plans will make it harder for working class, older and Black people to vote.
“Giving people a say at the ballot box helps make our democratic country what it is, and we must not do anything to undermine that.”
Voter integrity measures have already become a hot button issue in the United States follow last year’s presidential election, with Republicans in key states like Georgia and Florida calling for the tightening of elections rules while Democrats push to normalise mass mail-in balloting.