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.
A Labour analysis of the test areas has shown that at least 10,000 people aged 65 or over, and possibly many more, in the five towns are unlikely to have approved photo ID.
This is because older people are less likely to have a passport or driving licence. Data from the 2011 census shows that while 83% of adults overall have a passport, this falls to 70% of the over-65s and 46% for those aged 85 and over.
For driving licences, the National Travel Survey shows that while 73% of those aged 17-plus hold one, this falls to 62% for those 70 or older, and to 50% for women of this age group.