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United Kingdom - November 2022

Voter ID requirements attract fresh concerns

The Electoral Commission, election officials, local authorities and civil society organizations have voiced concerns over the Elections Act, as passed by Parliament in April 2022. Requiring voters to show photographic identification before being allowed to vote in parliamentary, local and certain other elections, the Act will apply to the local elections scheduled for May 2023. The list of acceptable forms of voter ID was published in secondary legislation this month and faced criticism for disproportionately approving forms of ID held by older people vis-a-vis younger generations. For those who do not hold an approved ID, a Voter Authority Certificate will be made available, although arrangements for this will not be finalized until January 2023 at the earliest. In private correspondence with the Government, it was also revealed this month that the Electoral Commission described the voter ID timeline as neither “workable” nor “secure” and warned that it has the potential to disenfranchise parts of the electorate, particularly those already marginalized. Its potential to polarize and affect trust in the electoral process has additionally been raised.

Sources: House of Commons Library, openDemocracy, The Constitution Society, Electoral Reform Society

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