Gosport MP, Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the evaluation of the Voter ID Pilot that took place in Gosport local elections last May 2018.
The Government is currently piloting Voter ID in selected constituencies to tackle voter ID fraud. While to pick up a parcel or prescription you are asked for ID, you only have to present your name at the ballot box in order to vote. To ensure that identity theft in elections is addressed, a pilot scheme is being tested in which you have to present a form of ID to vote. This was applied to the local elections in Gosport in May 2018.
In Gosport the Independent Electoral Commission has found that:
- The majority of voters were able to meet the identification requirements and of those who couldn’t the majority returned the same day. Only 0.4% did not return as a percentage of polling station votes cast.
- Turnout in 2018 was similar to 2016.
- No evidence suggested that Voter ID significantly deterred voters.
- No evidence that there was a disproportionate impact on particular groups, such as ethnic minorities.
- 7 out of 10 asked at the polls were very confident that this requirement could be replicated in another election.
In 2018, Minister for the Constitution, Chloe Smith MP, visited Gosport to thank the borough council for taking part in the national trial. The Government is hoping to expand the piloted local schemes to a national level in the next general election.
While there have been concerns that the need for ID will disproportionately affect vulnerable groups such as ethnic minorities, the Government and the Independent Electoral Commission found no evidence of this when the Pilots were evaluated. The Government is also going to provide alternative ID’s, free of charge, for those who do not have the appropriate identification.
Caroline Dinenage commented:
“I am pleased that although there has been no evidence that Gosport has any record of voter fraud, we could take place in this important pilot.
“The findings of the Independent Electoral Commission show that there is no significant impact on local elections. Identity theft and voter fraud is an important issue and if I need ID to pick up my post, I should need ID to vote. I look forward to seeing how the pilot continues to develop and expand.”
Chloe Smith MP, Minister for the Constitution, said:
"I'm delighted Gosport volunteered to take part in trialling the use of ID at the local elections in May.
“By taking part in this trial, local residents are helping us test ways to safeguard against electoral fraud, with the possibility of rolling out ID in polling stations at future elections.
“We already ask that people prove who they are in order to collect a parcel from the post office, rent a car, secure a mortgage, or travel abroad, so it's reasonable that we should do the same by taking the same approach to protect voting rights."