UK government to introduce criticised voter ID law this year

by Reuters
Tuesday, 11 May 2021 23:01 GMT

Ballots for the local elections are counted at Mill House Leisure Centre, in Hartlepool, Britain May 7, 2021. REUTERS/Lee Smith

Image Caption and Rights Information

Civil liberties say the rules will discriminate against voters from ethnic minority and working class backgrounds, who lack photo identification

LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) - Britain's government will introduce a new law this year to crack down on the potential for voter fraud and intimidation by including rules requiring voters to prove their identities, a move critics said could deter people from casting ballots.

Currently, voters need to only give their name and address to be able to vote, but the government says additional measures are required to make the system fairer by also tightening the rules for absent voting and prevent voter intimidation.

"Stealing someone's vote is stealing their voice. We must go further to protect and modernise our precious democracy," Chloe Smith, minister for the Constitution and Devolution, said in a statement.

"Our robust package of measures will stamp out the space for such damage to take place in our elections again and give the public confidence that their vote is theirs and theirs alone - no matter how they choose to cast it."

But civil liberties groups have criticised the plans, saying the would discriminate against those voters, often from ethnic minority and working class backgrounds, who lack photo identification or dissuade others to take part in elections.

The government has said the legislation would make clear that local authorities must provide a "voter card" free of charge and that a broad range of documents would be accepted.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; editing by Costas Pitas)

We want to hear from you: what critical stories and perspectives are missing from our coverage of systemic racism around the world?

Your responses to our short survey will help shape our reporting.

You can submit your response anonymously. If you provide an email address, we may follow up with you for more information. Any information you share with us will remain strictly confidential and will be used only in accordance with our Privacy Statement.