“Thank you for contacting me about identification at polling stations.
A secure electoral system is vital to a healthy democracy, and the public must have confidence that our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century. I believe asking voters to bring photographic identification to their polling station is an important way of achieving this.
Identification to vote has been backed by the Electoral Commission and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which state that its absence is a security risk. Without a requirement for identification at the polling station, it is harder to take out a library book or collect a parcel at a post office than it is to vote in someone else’s name.
In Northern Ireland voters have been required to produce personal identification before voting in polling stations since 1985, with photographic identification introduced in 2003 by the last Labour Government. Ministers at the time noted that “the Government have no intention of taking away people’s democratic right to vote. If we believed that thousands of voters would not be able to vote because of this measure, we would not be introducing it at this time.” I believe it is absolutely right that the Government stamps out the potential for voter fraud and brings the rest of the UK in line with Northern Ireland.
Showing identification to prove who they are is something people of all walks of life already do every day. A wide range of photographic identification documents will be accepted at the polling station, and the Voter Authority Certificate was created so that anyone without identification can apply for a free new one from their local authority. I have been assured that the Government will continue to raise awareness of the Voter Authority Certificate.
You can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate to use in future elections and referendums, using the following link: https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate
Thank you again for taking the time to contact Sally-Ann.
Sally-Ann Hart MP.”