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For the first time, the British voted with an identity document – Emancipation

For the first time, the British voted with an identity document – Emancipation

Driver’s license, passport, bus cards… Voters will need to bring one of 22 official documents with an approved photo to vote this Thursday, May 4. It is a way to fight fraud, but with few exceptions, according to the opposition, it is dangerous.

This Thursday, May 4, some Britons will vote to replace some 8,000 councilors in 230 local councils. Elections that make it possible to take the temperature of national opinion before the next general election are, above all, controversial subjects of everyday life: services, garbage collection, the condition of roads…

While Labor sees any progress as a sign of impending victory, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative camp downplays their losses, the real innovation lies in the referendum. Since 2014, the Election Commission has been calling for the introduction of free identity documents in the electoral roll. It has identified 1,386 suspected scams in the past five years – far from a large and organized system, but enough if the government decided it shouldn’t. “Can’t be satisfied with that” and opting to change the rules, emphasizing that this move is common in other parts of the world and especially in European democracies.

A “cynical” decision?

In England, where there is no national identity card, those on the register are sent an electoral card a few weeks before the election, telling them which office to go to. On the spot, you give your address and fill in your ballot with a pencil before folding it and placing it in an opaque ballot box. No envelopes, signatures or sacredness “voted”. Counting is synonymous with long waits: offices close at 10 p.m., and ballot boxes are collected at a center and emptied by volunteers who begin counting at night.

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This time, voters will have to bring back one of 22 approved photo IDs like passport, driver’s license, senior bus cards, biometric residence permit…no student cards or youth transport passes. “cynical” Through the Students Union NUS. Those without an official document can apply free of charge for an electoral certificate valid only for voting, but only 80,000 of the more than 2 million citizens concerned (ie about 4% of the electorate) applied by the deadline.

For the opposition, the scheme is above all else “biased” And “no need”, which favors older people who vote more easily for conservatives, and adds to the difficulties for minorities and disadvantaged populations. Turnout in local elections is generally very low – around 35% in England in 2021 – and could still be affected by this finding.