CLIVE BETTS, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (LUHC) Committee has written to Baroness Scott of Bybrook, Minister in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to raise concerns about the impact of the introduction of voter ID on some voters and on the capacity of local council electoral staff to manage the voter ID requirement.
The Chair’s letter refers to figures from the Electoral Commission report which showed voter ID had a significant impact on some people’s ability to vote at the local elections in May 2023.
The Committee’s correspondence states that while the Electoral Commission’s post-poll report (published in September) noted 14,000 people were recorded as being unable to vote due to the requirement for voter ID, the Electoral Commission has warned they believe the actual number to be far greater.
The Electoral Commission’s initial analysis of the local elections found four per cent of people did not vote as a result of the voter ID requirement. In correspondence on 12 September to the Committee, the Electoral Commission confirmed that based on the local election turnout figures, four per cent of non-voters was equivalent to 740,000 people.
Clive Betts, Chair of the Committee, said: “The Electoral Commission have found that voter ID had a significant impact on some people’s ability to vote at the local elections in May. The Government needs to spell out how it will act on the Electoral Commission’s recommendations and the steps it will take to ensure the proportion of those unable to vote due to voter ID is not considerably higher at a future general election.
“It is particularly concerning that the Electoral Commission found unemployed voters and disabled voters were more likely to be unable to vote due to the voter ID requirement. The Government should set out what it will to do to change this and to ensure specific groups of individuals, including unemployed or disabled individuals, are not disproportionately impacted by this requirement in future elections.”
The Chair’s correspondence calls for the Government to confirm if it plans to expand forms of accepted ID. The letter also highlights concerns about the recruitment and retention of electoral staff, a long-standing problem but which, evidence suggests, has been exacerbated with the roll out of voter ID.
The Levelling Up Committee has been reviewing the implementation of voter ID in connection with the local elections as part of its inquiry into electoral registration.
* Read the letter to the Minister here.