Prior to the local elections that took place across England in May; the Conservative Party passed legislation that has meant the electorate will need to have recognised identification if they wish to vote. The Tories introduced this policy as a measure to stop electoral fraud, however many believe this policy has hindered democracy more than it has helped.
According to a report on the effect of voter ID in the local elections, approximately 14,000 people were turned away from voting due to having insufficient identification. This doesn’t include those who didn’t vote because of the new rules and this excludes locations across the United Kingdom such as in London, where no local elections took place, suggesting at the next election the voter turnout could see a decrease due to many being turned away for having no identification. Furthermore, a watchdog report highlighted those without sufficient identification, tended to be of an ethnic minority, elderly or unemployed.
This poses the question as to whether the Tory policy was tactical considering traditionally ethnic minorities and the unemployed have tended to vote against the Conservative party. Even Jacob Rees-Mogg has accused the government of gerrymandering; despite holding a cabinet position at the time the policy was introduced. This signifies a general consensus amongst many voters and political figures that the introduction of Voter ID is an attack on democracy.
The Conservative Party claim that the policy will stop electoral fraud, and this gives the impression that electoral fraud is a huge issue for democracy. However, the numbers suggest otherwise, as there has been 1386 cases of alleged electoral fraud since 2018. With only nine of these leading to convictions, it is clear that the 14,000 unable to vote at the local elections matter more than the fraudulent votes of the nine convicted.
In addition to this, the divide between the North and South has stretched over the last 13 years and a YouGov poll on Voter ID highlights that the rules will be felt the hardest in the North of England. This emphasises the negligence the North has received since the Tories came to power in 2010, further exemplifying the catastrophic attack on democracy and the electorate, especially those marginalised under Conservative rule.
In Conclusion, it is clear that this policy needs great reform or even to be scrapped in order to reinstate democracy as the key principle in today’s society and it is clear that a Tory government is incapable of this.
Therefore, we need a new government in order to give power back to the people and Labour are the only party ready to successfully run government and close the gaps in society that have been induced by the Tories.