A TOP minister has thanked Gosport Borough Council for taking part in a national trial for voting.
Chloe Smith MP, the new Minister for the Constitution, visited Gosport Town Hall yesterday to assess the site’s preparations for a new way to tackle electoral fraud.
Voters in Gosport, along with those in four other regions, will need to show identification at polling stations before they can vote in the local elections on May 3.
The move has come after the alleged figures of voter impersonation more than doubled between 2014 and 2016.
The idea has been met with scepticism from some bodies including Age UK and the Salvation Army, who said that the move might deter some elderly or ‘vulnerable’ people from voting.
MP Chloe Smith said: ‘It’s a simple and reasonable scheme.
‘You need ID to collect a parcel from the post office, why shouldn’t ID’s be used when it comes to something as serious as voting?
Other countries already follow this process with massive success. It’s also used in Northern Ireland.
Voter fraud is a big concern and we think this idea is perfectly reasonable.
‘In the year that we’re celebrating 100 years since the women’s right to vote, keeping our vote safe is paramount.’
Council leader Mark Hook has welcomed the trials. He sent staff to supermarkets throughout the area, speaking to over 15,000 people who he said are backing the idea.
Councillor Hook said: ‘We have a diverse range of over 62,000 voters in Gosport.
‘We put ourselves forward to conduct these trials because we’re fully equipped and have the resources to get accurate results.
‘Don’t be put off as the process is still extremely open and accessible.’