Voter ID trial to launch for next local election

Voters will be asked for identification at polling stations in Gosport at the next round of elections
Voters will be asked for identification at polling stations in Gosport at the next round of elections

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VOTERS in Gosport will be some of the first in the country to require ID to vote in an election.

Minister for constitution Chris Skidmore was due to announce today that Gosport, Woking, Bromley, Watford and Slough have all volunteered to trial the system, which will require voters to produce a form of ID before being given a ballot paper.

The pilot scheme will allow for photo and non-photo ID to see which is the most effective.

The scheme was offered on a number of occasions to all local authorities in the UK.

The move comes after figures from the Electoral Commission revealed that reports of alleged electoral fraud via voter impersonation more than doubled in the UK between 2014 and 2016.

Deputy leader of Gosport Borough Council Cllr Graham Burgess said: ‘We’re pleased to be taking part in this trial.

‘There’s no evidence of any electoral fraud or impersonation in our borough, but we’re happy to help make sure that confidence is maintained in the national democratic process.

‘We will keep residents informed and will let everyone know what they need to do as soon as the details are finalised.’

Minister for constitution Chris Skidmore said: ‘For people to have confidence in our democratic processes we need to ensure that our elections are safeguarded against any threat or perception of electoral fraud.

‘The current situation of people simply pointing out their name without having to prove who they are feels out of date when considering other safeguards to protect people’s identity.

‘It is harder to take out a library book or collect a parcel at a post office than it is to vote in someone’s name.

Claire Bassett, chief executive of the Electoral Commission, said: ‘We welcome the minister’s announcement today as a positive first step towards implementing our 2014 recommendation that an accessible, proportionate voter identification scheme should be introduced in Great Britain.

‘Voters in Northern Ireland have been required to show photographic proof of identity since 2003, and we have the opportunity to learn from that.

‘The Electoral Commission is carrying out an independent, statutory evaluation of the pilot schemes and we will publish our findings in the summer of 2018.’

For more information, people can search ‘electoral services’ at gosport.gov.uk.