Society criticises ID trial at borough vote

THE Electoral Reform Society has criticised government trials that saw 44 Gosport residents unable to vote.

Thursday, 24th May 2018, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:45 am

Gosport Borough Council was one of five councils nationwide to test the new scheme that meant voters had to bring proof of identity to polling stations or risk being turned away.

Despite efforts to warn residents before the elections, held on May 4, 116 people arrived at stations without any form of identification.

Of these, 72 returned with the correct documents such as a driving licence, passport or utility bill. However, 44 did not and lost their vote.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A spokesperson from the Electoral Reform Society said: ‘What the government trials have achieved is to deny hundreds of people their vote, including at least 44 across Gosport.

‘Unfortunately we will never know how many blameless voters stayed home or turned back before they even got to the polling desk, but any number is too high.

‘The question has to be asked why these trials were held given that there has not been a single verified allegation of impersonation fraud in Gosport, or any other pilot area, in the past ten years.

‘Voters have paid a high price for this unnecessary experiment.’

Bromley, Swindon, Watford and Woking also tried out and ID scheme. Collectively 311 voters were unable to vote.

Turnout at Gosport was 33.29 per cent, an increase on the 31.98 per cent at the last borough election in 2016.