Council objects to plans to force voters to show photo ID at elections

Ashfield District Council will write to the Government opposing plans for photographic ID at polling stations at future elections.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 11:21 am
Will polling stations soon be asking for photo ID?

The Cabinet Office is pushing forward with the proposals as part of the Elections Bill, with voters requiring identity cards before being able to cast their ballot.

The plans have been met with some criticism but the Government says the move has been brought in to prevent voter fraud.

The Cabinet Office added a free ‘Voter Card’ would be provided under the plans to anyone who does not possess a driving licence or passport.

But members of Ashfield District Council voted to write to Whitehall in opposition to the move, with some claiming it could “disenfranchise” voters.

Coun Helen-Ann Smith (Ash Ind), deputy leader of the council, brought forward the motion. She said: “This is going to make it difficult for people who do not have an ID to vote, and we shouldn’t be putting obstacles in their way.

“We want to increase the turnout, we want it to be a democratic process, and we don’t want to be putting hurdles in peoples’ way.

Although the motion was passed, some councillors abstained on the vote, with Coun Christian Chapman (Ash Ind) suggesting the motion was “the wrong use of council time”.

Coun Melanie Darrington (Ind), also abstained for the same reason.

There were a further three abstentions from the Conservatives, with 27 votes in favour.

The authority will also write to MPs Lee Anderson and Mark Spencer asking them to oppose the Elections Bill in the Commons.