New ID hurdle for Nottinghamshire young people

Polling stations for the General Election will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday, July 4
By Jamie Waller, Local Democracy Reporter

Voter ID requirements are likely to cause greater problems for Nottinghamshire’s young people in the General Election, a politics expert says.

Next month’s poll will be the first time that people must show a valid form of ID to vote in a full General Election.

Tom Caygill, a senior lecturer in politics at Nottingham Trent University, says it’s unclear how many people will be turned away or deterred by the new policy.

“One of the concerns about the legislation is how young people have so many fewer valid forms of ID than older people,” he said.

“Their main form of ID are passports – which cost around £80 these days – and driving licenses – and not every young person drives.

“While the majority will have some form, there could be thousands of voters across the country who get disenfranchised on a technicality. Younger people have as much right to vote as anyone else.”

Free voter ID is available from the Electoral Commission for people who apply before Wednesday, June 26, but Tom says it’s unclear how many people know this.

“I’ve not seen much advertising ahead of this election. There was a fair bit for the local elections in May, so hopefully it ramps up towards polling day,” he said.

“It’s also not clear whether people who get turned away because they didn’t realise they needed ID will come back to the polling station a second time.

“If they see it as their civic duty to vote – or want to give the government a kicking – they might get their ID from home then return.

“But if people are doing it on their way home from work, they may not bother going back a second time.

“Fortunately, we’ve had local elections where this has already been put into practice. It would be a completely different situation if this election had been called a year and a half ago.”

He believes that it might be lack of enthusiasm rather than voter ID that depresses turnout on July 4.

“You normally get a sense that people are very engaged in an election, which it doesn’t feel like now. There’s not huge amount of enthusiasm.

“Perhaps people are exhausted with politics after the last few years. Or maybe there’s not a sense it’s on a knife edge, and some people see it as a foregone conclusion.

“But British elections have become so volatile in recent years it’s impossible to say.”

A full list of the accepted forms of ID is available on the Electoral Commission website.

See the full list of General Election candidates in Nottinghamshire here.

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