Hundreds of thousands of older people could be barred from voting in elections because they don’t have the correct photo identification. Electoral Commission data shows around two million people, including a million older voters, still do not have documents such as a passport or driving licence to cast their vote.
Critics of voter ID warned of a “looming fiasco” ahead of crucial local elections on May 4 when electoral changes kick in.
The requirement also applies to police and crime commissioner elections, parliamentary by-elections and recall petitions. It will apply to UK general elections from October.
The Electoral Commission says there is a long list of valid photo ID including passports, driving licences blue badges and the senior bus pass.
But analysis by a coalition of campaign groups reveals that more than a million older voters don’t have any photo ID on the required list.
Tom Brake, director of Unlock Democracy, said: “This is the biggest change to elections in our country for a generation and it’s being rushed through with all the hallmarks of a looming fiasco. Currently, only about half the population even know it’s going to be a requirement.”
Mr Brake, a former deputy leader of the House of Commons and an ex-Lib Dem MP, said a website set up by the Government to apply for a special “voter authority certificate” has been used by only about 29,000 people.
He added: “We are calling on the Government to dramatically increase efforts to make the public aware. They must guarantee that no one eligible to vote ends up being deterred from doing so or being turned away.”
Mark Kieran, chief executive of Open Britain said: “With local elections at ward level often decided by a handful of votes, this will inevitably influence the election results.”
James Jamieson, Tory chair of the Local Government Association, last year said councils had “insufficient time” to introduce the requirements ahead of the next elections.
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