At first sight, the suggestion from the Electoral Commission that voters should be required to show photographic ID at polling stations appears sensible. On closer examination, it is not so straightforward. The rationale for the move is to reduce the incidence of electoral fraud. Yet the latter is, as Jenny Watson, chairman of the commission, pointed out, fairly unusual. So before the entire population is required to provide such ID, there should surely be a greater effort to clamp down on fraud where it is known to exist. The commission identifies 16 “suspect” areas and makes the point that some communities, “specifically those with roots in parts of Pakistan or Bangladesh”, are particularly vulnerable to the practice. Yet politicians are reluctant to say so, not least because when they do, the roof caves in – as Dominic Grieve, the Attorney General, found a few weeks ago when he raised the issue in an interview with this newspaper.
He was forced to apologise after being criticised not just by his political opponents but even by his colleague Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party chairman. But Mr Grieve was right: effective policing of electoral fraud where it is suspected should be a priority. To that end, data from the 16 suspected fraud “hot spots” should be published, not covered up.
As for the rest of us, the Electoral Commission proposes that by 2019, a passport, driving licence or bus pass should be produced before ballot papers are issued. Yet not everyone, especially older people, has these documents. Are they to be disfranchised because they cannot provide them?
Full Article: Voter ID cards will not solve electoral fraud – Telegraph.