THE NEW requirement to show photo ID at elections has been branded a “massive waste of public money and time” by MP Matt Western.
Voters will now have to show a form of photo identification when they go to the polls, prompting concerns the estimated two million people without an eligible form of ID will effectively be disenfranchised.
Following the passing of the government’s Elections Bill in January 2022, people heading to the polls for the May local elections will have to show photo identification for the first time ever in order to prove they are who they say they are. Previously, as long as voters’ names appeared on the electoral register, they were able to vote.
A free form of voter identification is now available which voters, that are without any photo ID, can apply for.
But as of last month, according to the Warwick and Leamington MP, only one per cent of those without photo ID had applied.
Mr Western said: “These actions are unnecessary and a massive waste of public money and time. Just four people were convicted of fraud in 2019. So there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the UK nor risk of our elections being undermined by fraud. Yet it will cost millions of pounds to implement these new measures.
“At a time when people’s purse strings are being pulled tighter and tighter, I’m sure the money being dished out for these unnecessary steps would be better used elsewhere.”
The deadline to register to vote is April 17 and the deadline to apply for a postal vote is April 18.
If people without photo identification need to apply for a free voter authority certificate, the deadline to do so is April 25.