The Tory government knows it's going to be wiped out in next May's local elections and it can do nothing to legitimately address this problem. Therefore the Tories are going to do what Tories love doing - they are going to cheat.

The Conservative Party knows it's going to be wiped out in next May's local elections and it can do nothing to legitimately address this problem. Therefore, the Tories are going to do what Tories are best at doing - they are going to cheat. They plan to rig the elections in their favour and limit the damage, thanks to the introduction of the Elections Bill.

Here is what they have planned:

First of all, every voter will have to provide an accepted form of ID, otherwise they will not be allowed to vote. Most countries don't have mandatory voter ID unless they also have a mandatory national identification card or mandatory voting, meaning no one is disenfranchised in those countries.

Throughout the entire history of our country, we have not needed ID to vote (apart from in local trials), yet now it has suddenly become a "necessity". Why? Because Tory-voting demographics are more likely to own the accepted forms of ID than non-Tory voters. The Elections Bill is about suppressing the people who weren't going to vote Tory. I wrote an article back in September 2021 with more information about the Elections Bill that you can read here.

Seven of the forms of ID that would be accepted are those that are aimed at older people: 

  • Older Person’s Bus Pass
  • Oyster 60+ card
  • Freedom Pass (66+)
  • National Entitlement Card (over 60s or 16 to 22)
  • 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
  • Senior SmartPass
  • 60+ SmartPass

If you want to know which forms of ID are acceptable, you will be hard-pressed because the government is not exactly making this information easy to find, but this link should help.

As you can see, pretty much none of the accepted forms of ID are ones that are likely to be owned by young people, such as Student IDs and Railcards. You can argue all you like that young people should apply for a passport or driving license, but both are longwinded and expensive processes. Incidentally, ownership of driving licenses among young people is currently at a record low and I didn't own a passport until my late twenties.

The House of Commons overturned an amendment from the House of Lords that would have allowed a greater number of forms of ID to be used, even though those forms of ID are considered just as secure. Does this sound like a government that cares about electoral integrity to you?

At a typical general election, you can expect to encounter fewer than ten examples of voter impersonation, but voter ID trials have denied thousands of people their vote. Scale this up to the entire UK and you could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people being turned away from polling stations.

Two million people currently do not have photo ID, including 5% of disabled people, and northerners are 1/7th as likely to have photo ID as southerners. The data shows ethnic minorities are about 30% less likely to have photo ID, meaning the Elections Bill could be considered racist as well as ageist.

Look at this infographic from YouGov and see if you can work out why the Tories might want to stop young people from voting:

The government has promised to introduce a free ID, but this is not without its problems, not least because a free ID is not really free. If you have to take time off work, pay bus fares and buy a passport photo, it's still costing you money. It will cost the local council money too, but councils are unclear what resources they can expect. Will they have the staff and money to adequately provide these IDs? Will there be long waits for appointments?

Even a so-called free ID is a potential barrier that is likely to deter those who are young, poor and disaffected, i.e., the people who are less likely to vote Tory. This group accounts for about 6% of the voting public (yet the government claims it's only 2%) and their disenfranchisement could be enough to swing the result in a marginal seat.

Despite calls to allow polling cards, they will not be accepted as ID, even though polling cards are sent to our address that is registered on the electoral roll, making them as secure as postal ballots. Also, such a move would save the government an estimated £180 million on "free IDs".

Election teams are warning that voter ID requirements and changes to constituency boundaries will likely cause chaos on election day. They say they are struggling to find staff willing to deal with these issues or venues that are suitable in time. 

Officials are concerned that lack of preparation could cause genuine voters to be turned away from polling stations and denied their democratic right to vote. In addition to all of this, there are complaints that the redrawing of constituency boundaries is going to favour the Tories - in other words, gerrymandering. How can this possibly be acceptable?

The Tories justify their voter ID plans by saying they are necessary to protect against the almost non-existent problem of voter fraud. But actually the people trying to commit fraud at these elections are the Tories themselves.

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