A group of more than 40 charities, campaign groups and academics have written to the government to warn that plans to trial compulsory voter ID at the local elections in May risk disenfranchising large numbers of vulnerable people. The letter to Chloe Smith, the constitution minister, says the pilot scheme is a disproportionate response to the scale of electoral fraud, noting that in 2016 there were just 44 allegations of voter impersonation, the issue that compulsory ID is intended to combat. It said Electoral Commission figures indicated that 3.5 million people in Britain – 7.5% of the electorate – do not have access to any form of photo ID.
Articles about voting issues in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
United Kingdom: Long-term British expats could soon win right to vote in UK general elections | The Parliament Magazine
Campaigners have welcomed plans to abolish the rule which bans UK voters overseas from voting in British general elections after they have been abroad for period of 15 years or more. They were commenting to news that the overseas electors bill had passed the second reading stage in the UK House of Commons. Speaking on Tuesday, Roger Casale, the founder of citizens’ rights group New Europeans, said, “This is great news.” He told this website, “The goal of abolishing the 15-year rule does at last seem to be in sight. I am happy above all for all Britons abroad who do not want to lose their democratic voice and the right to vote.”
United Kingdom: Government minister makes statement on expat voting rights push ahead of debate | Euro Weekly
Chloe Smith, Britain’s Constitution minister, has spoken for the government on a bill set to be debated today that would lift current restrictions on expat voting rights if passed. The Overseas Electors Bill will end the 15 year limit on people from Britain who now live abroad casting a ballot in the country’s elections if Parliament approves it. The bill, tabled by Conservative MP Glyn Davies, will go up for debate in the House of Commons today.
United Kingdom: Voting age could be cut to 16 before next general election, says senior Tory | Evening Standard
A historic lowering of the voting age from 18 to 16 could be enacted before the next general election, a senior Conservative predicted today. Sir Peter Bottomley said there was “growing” support among Tory MPs for the reform, which is currently opposed by Theresa May’s Government. “It’s a question of when rather than whether it is going to happen,” the former minister told the Standard. Asked if there was enough backing for it to be made law in the current Parliament, the veteran MP said: “I think it would probably carry. Labour would vote in favour of it, so would every minority party and a growing number of Conservatives support it.”
United Kingdom: A century after women got the vote, many people are still disenfranchised | The Guardian
Barbara Waterman was born 13 years after the Representation of the People Act gave women over 30 the right to vote in 1918. But it was not until three years ago, in the 2015 election, at the age of 83, that she finally used that right. Until then, Waterman thought she was barred because of her learning disability. Her belief that universal suffrage didn’t extend to people such as her is not uncommon, according to Dimensions, a charity that runs a scheme to help and encourage people with learning disabilities and autism to vote. What changed for Waterman was that she became involved in the charity’s Love Your Vote scheme. It gave her a “voting passport”: a document that provides instructions for polling station staff regarding how she would like to be assisted to vote. After studying Easy Read manifestos produced by each of the political parties online, Waterman was supported to cast her vote for the first time in 2015, then again in June 2017. “The voting passport helped me remember what to do when I got to the place where you vote,” says Waterman.
United Kingdom: Elections chief presses case for voters to provide ID at polling stations | Press Association
Proof of identity should be required from voters before they can vote at a polling station, just as people provide ID to collect a parcel, Electoral Commission Chair Sir John Holmes has said. His comments came ahead of trials of such a new rule at five councils at forthcoming local elections in England on May 3: Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford and Woking. Concerns about disfranchisement of people who did not have passports and driving licences could be addressed through the introduction of a free elector’s card with photo, as already used in Northern Ireland, throughout the rest of the UK, Sir John told the annual conference of the Association of Electoral Administrators in Blackpool.
The Welsh Government has proposed pilots exploring the use of electronic voting in local elections and by-elections. Alongside providing 16 and 17-year-olds with the ability to vote on devolved matters for the first time in the UK, e-voting is aimed at boosting participation in the political process. … The security of ballot counting systems has never been a problem in the UK, where ballots are counted by hand. However, in countries such as the US and Germany, security researchers have warned that machines used to count votes could be hacked to manipulate the results – although there is no evidence of this having taken place.
The Labour-controlled Welsh government also wants new voting methods introduced, including the chance to vote in places such as supermarkets, leisure centres and railway stations. Alun Davies, the cabinet secretary for local government and public services, said: “Local democracy is all about participation. We want to boost the numbers registered as electors, make it easier for people to cast their votes and give more people the right to take part.” Under the proposals to be announced this week, 16 and 17-year-olds would be given the right to vote in council elections, along with all foreign nationals legally resident in Wales.
Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Wednesday it would conduct a new, comprehensive search of its records for possible propaganda that Russian operatives may have spread during the run-up to Britain’s 2016 referendum on EU membership. Some British lawmakers had complained that the world’s largest social media network had done only a limited search for evidence that Russians manipulated the network and interfered with the referendum debate. Russia denies meddling in Britain’s vote to exit the European Union, known as Brexit, or in the 2016 U.S. elections.
Trials to make people show identification before they can vote could unfairly affect older people who are less likely to possess photo ID or have access to other documents, the Labour party and charities have warned. The proposal to counter voter fraud by making people show ID will be piloted in five parts of England for the local elections in May, ministers announced this year. Voters in Woking, Gosport, Bromley, Watford and Slough will be asked to produce identification. In some areas people will be asked for photo ID such as a passport or driving licence, in others they will just have to show the polling card sent out to people’s homes.