Compulsory ID cards will stop people voting, say councillors

Broxtowe Borough Council offices.
By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

Councillors in Broxtowe claim Government plans for compulsory ID cards will take away some people’s right to vote.

The Elections Bill presented to Parliament earlier this month proposes voters are required to show an approved form of photo ID at the ballot box.

The bill says any voter who does not have an approved form of identification would be able to apply for a free, local Voter Card from their local authority.

But a motion brought forward by the Liberal Democrat Group on Broxtowe Borough Council has called on the Government to abandon the proposals saying they are “straight out of the Trump playbook”.

Speaking at a Broxtowe Borough Council meeting on July 21, Councillor Hannah Land (Lib Dem), said: “We hear about the cuts to Universal Credit and the poverty that people are facing, there are likely to be far higher numbers of people disenfranchised by this legislation.

“As a Liberal Democrat, this absolutely devastates me.”

Councillor Philip Owen (Cons), asked: “Why would we want to vote against something that’s going to increase the validity of the democratic process in this county?

“It’s non-sensical to start whining on about residents being disenfranchised.

“I think it’s quite clear from the figures quoted that the vast majority of people are happy to get their photo ID and be properly identified.”

But Councillor David Watts (Lib Dem) added: “This is straight out of the Trump playbook, it is voter suppression.

“I am staggered that anybody could think this was a good idea.”

The Liberal Democrat motion said: “There is no evidence that there is any problem in the United Kingdom with voter impersonation.

“In the 2019 local elections where Broxtowe was a pilot area showed that 231 Broxtowe residents were turned away from polling stations for not having the correct ID, and that of these 69 people failed to return later.

“This Council calls on the government to abandon proposals to introduce voter ID and calls on both our MP’s to vote against these proposals.”

The motion was passed with 18 votes for and 16 against.

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