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Voter ID Is Here – Awareness Campaign Ramps Up

Published on: 23 Mar, 2023
Updated on: 24 Mar, 2023

By Martin Giles

For the first time, all voters will need to show photographic ID  at this year’s local elections on May 4. This is a new requirement introduced by the UK government to counter voter fraud although photo ID will not be required if voting by post.

See road show dates below

Documents that will be accepted include passports and driving licences. In 2021 it was estimated that 77 per cent of English residents aged 17 and over held a driving licence and 86.5 per cent held at least one passport

But according to the New Statesman magazine more than three million UK voters have no form of photo ID, so the change is not universally popular.

The  Electoral Reform Society said: “Evidence from around the world shows that forcing voters to bring photographic ID to the polling station just makes it harder for people to vote – while doing little to increase faith in the integrity of the system.”

And there are concerns it will disproportionately put off poorer voters who might be less likely to have a passport or driving licence.

Guildford Borough Council responsible for administering elections in the borough have to comply with the government’s policy and over the last two weeks households across the borough have received a Voter ID leaflet through their letterbox, part of a public awareness campaign with the Electoral Commission.

The leaflets feature a sticky note with a handwritten reminder to bring ID to the polling station. They also contain a link to the Electoral Commission’s website. On the site, more information about voter ID can be found, including how to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate for those who don’t have an accepted form of ID.

A council spokesman said: “It’s important that everyone who wants to vote at the local elections knows about the changes. Anyone who turns up at a polling station without accepted photo id will not be issued with a ballot paper. They will need to leave the polling station and return with an accepted form of photo ID before being able to vote.

“We are already using the sticky note awareness campaign across social media. We will also be sending a more detailed leaflet about Voter ID with resident’s Council Tax bills. Throughout March we will be out and about in the borough talking to people about the changes to how we vote.”

Tom Horwood

Guildford’s returning officer, Tom Horwood, said: “Local elections are taking place in our Borough on Thursday,  May 4 2023. If you want to vote it’s important that you make sure you have an accepted form of ID. It may seem early but checking now means you will be ready to vote in May.

“Residents who do not have one of the accepted forms of ID can apply for a free ID. The quickest way to do this is online. You can also complete a paper application form and send it to our electoral services team. They can assist people who need extra help.”

The deadline for a free Voter Authority Certificate is April 25 2023.

The accepted forms of voter ID will be listed on polling cards that will be sent out in this month.

GBC has also announced further “road shows” to promote awareness about new photo ID requirements at the local elections.

The new dates and venues announced are:

  • Friday, March 31 9.30am to 11am: Ash Parish Centre, Ash
  • Friday, March 31  11:30am to 1pm: Tesco Express, Ash Vale
  • Wednesday, April 5 10.30am to 12 noon: 3Cs café at St Mary’s Church, Shalford
  • Tuesday, April 11 10:30am to 12 noon: The Library, East Horsley
  • Friday, April 14 10.30am to 12 noon: Wheelhouse café at St Mary’s Church, West Horsley

The road show will also be at The Spectrum Leisure Centre on Thursday March 30 2023 between 10am and 2pm.

See also: Guildford Residents Need to Know the Impact of New Photo ID Electoral Law

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Responses to Voter ID Is Here – Awareness Campaign Ramps Up

  1. Stuart Barnes Reply

    March 23, 2023 at 9:02 am

    Although it is sensible to require voter ID, it is correcting only a very small part of voting fraud.

    Why is the government not cracking down on the much more important issue of the misuse of postal voting?

  2. Ian Stronge Reply

    March 23, 2023 at 11:09 am

    The ID card that councils are obliged to provide on application is not necessarily “free”.That’s because a passport-compliant photo is required. Not just any old photo, but a photo that’s computer-readable.

    If you’ve applied online for a passport, you’ll know how difficult it is to achieve this standard of selfie on your smartphone.

    On the High Street, Timpsons will take your photo so it’s computer-readable. They supply a downloadable digital copy as well as three printed photos. But this costs £12.

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