This petition was submitted during the 2017–2019 Conservative government
Petition Halt all efforts to introduce ID checks at polling stations
In person voter fraud is incredibly rare with just 28 allegations out of 44.6 million votes and only one conviction. In the UK, 3.5 million people don't have any form of photo ID and if checks required a driving licence or passport, 11 million people would be unable to vote.
People from ethnic minority and less well-off backgrounds are far less likely to hold a form of photo ID so any move to restrict the right to vote in this way could be viewed as a deliberate attempt to suppress voters from these communities and this cannot be allowed to happen.
This petition closed early because of a General Election Find out more on the Petitions Committee website
This response was given on 29 October 2019
Voter ID is part of a body of work this Government is delivering to strengthen the integrity of our electoral system and give the public confidence that our elections are secure.
Read the response in full
An identity check has been in our electoral system since the 19th century – we are updating it for this century. We merely need to walk up to the polling station and say our name, under current law. Voter ID is part of a body of work this Government is delivering to strengthen the integrity of our electoral system and give the public confidence that our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century. If people are confident about the electoral system, they are more likely to participate in it. In our current electoral system, there is undeniable potential for electoral fraud and the perception of this undermines public confidence in our democracy.
The Government has included a commitment to national roll out of voter ID requirements across Great Britain in their manifesto. In the Queen’s Speech, the Government stated that we will bring forward measures that will improve the integrity and security of each elector’s vote, whether they vote at a polling station or elsewhere. These measures are part of a wider initiative to improve trust in the integrity of the electoral process, maintain public confidence and support equality and inclusivity in our electoral system.
Electors will be required to show an approved form of photographic ID before casting their vote in a polling station across Great Britain, at General Elections, and at local elections in England. The list of approved ID will not be limited to passports and driving licences - a range of documents will be accepted. Any voter who does not have an approved form of ID will be able to apply, free of charge, for a local electoral ID from their local authority to ensure that everyone eligible to vote has the opportunity to.
Voter ID has applied to elections in Northern Ireland since 1985. Both the pilots and the Northern Irish experience demonstrate that the requirement to provide ID before voting does not have a negative effect on election turnout or participation.
The Government has worked with local authorities across England to pilot voter ID at local elections in 2018 and 2019. Both rounds of voter ID pilots were evaluated by both the independent Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Office, and those evaluations were published online. The evaluations of the voter ID pilots show that these pilots were a success as the overwhelming majority of electors who turned up to vote did so with the right documents and had confidence in knowing how to cast their vote. In Pendle and Woking, which piloted photographic ID in 2019, 99.6% of people who attended a polling station were able to show the right photo ID and were issued with a ballot paper.
Based on the evaluations there is no indication that the ID requirement negatively affected the intention to vote for any consistent specific demographic group across the pilot authorities. Showing ID is something people of all backgrounds already do every day, for example to take out a library book, claim benefits or pick up a parcel from the post office. Proving who you are before you make a decision of huge importance at the ballot box should be no different.
The Government will continue to work closely with the Electoral Commission and other organisations who are experts in the delivery of elections, and continue to welcome the views of all stakeholders with an interest in voter ID as we take forward measures to improve the integrity and accessibility of elections.