Voters should be required to show photo ID at polling stations in Great Britain to lessen the risk of fraud, the Electoral Commission has said. The elections watchdog said it planned to introduce the change in time for the 2019 local government and European Parliament elections. Although it has yet to confirm full details of the plan, it said it would be based on the Northern Ireland model, where voters already need photo ID. Campaigners No2ID condemned the plan. But Electoral Commission chairwoman Jenny Watson said most voters could use passports, driving licences or even public transport photocards to prove who they are at polling stations. Those without any of these documents could request a free elections ID card, she added.
Ms Watson said: “Proven cases of electoral fraud are rare and, when it is committed, the perpetrators tend to be candidates or their supporters. Voters are the victims and sustained action is needed now to prevent fraud from taking place.”
In June, individual voter registration for British elections is expected to come into force, requiring each member of a household to register to vote individually. Currently, the “head of the household” supplies details of other people living at the address.
Ms Watson told the BBC this meant “people who want to commit fraud will have to look at other places in the system that could be vulnerable”, adding: “The most vulnerable of those is voting in person at polling stations, and that’s why we’re suggesting that people should bring ID.”