Campaign Response: Voter ID

I have been contacted by constituents regarding Voter ID.

As the Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes South, I have included below my response:

A secure electoral system is a vital component of a healthy democracy, and the public must have confidence that our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century. Asking voters to bring ID to their polling station is an important way of achieving this and the Electoral Integrity Bill will put such a requirement into law.

It is worth noting that requiring ID to vote is not a new concept. Northern Ireland have required photo ID at polling stations since 2003, something that was introduced by the last Labour Government. This measure has proved to be effective at tackling fraud and has not curtailed election turnout.

Identification to vote has been backed by the Electoral Commission and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which state that its absence is a security risk. At present, it is harder to take out a library book or collect a parcel at a post office than it is to vote in someone else’s name.

In 2018 and 2019, the pilot schemes showed most people cast their vote without a problem. The success of these pilots proves that this is a reasonable and proportionate measure to take, and there was no notable adverse effect on turnout either.

I was pleased to hear the Electoral Commission state that "the experience of taking part in the pilot scheme appears to have had a positive impact on people’s perception of the security of the polling station process, and on their confidence in it...Polling station staff were satisfied with how polling day went and were confident that they could manage the process of people showing voter identification at future elections."

Under the Government’s proposals, anyone without an ID will be able to apply for a new free one – meaning that no voter will be disenfranchised.