Voter ID Pilots

Oral Answers to Questions — Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons on 5th June 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham North

What estimate he has made of the number of people in voter ID pilot areas who could not vote in the May 2019 local elections because they were unable to meet ID requirements.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

What estimate he has made of the number of people in voter ID pilot areas who could not vote in the May 2019 local elections because they were unable to meet ID requirements.

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

The Government are delivering a programme of work to strengthen the integrity of our electoral system and ensure that elections are secure and fit for the 21st century. Validated figures will be published as part of the evaluations undertaken both by the Cabinet Office and by the independent Electoral Commission of the 2019 pilots.

Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham North

According to interim figures for the pilot areas in May, 800 people were denied a vote because of ID requirements, yet last year there were only eight reported cases of personation fraud across the whole country. Is not the reality that this is not about protecting our electoral system—it is about voter suppression?

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

If it was so bad, why did the Labour party introduce a system of voter ID in Northern Ireland that has had no noticeable impact on voter turnout? To be clear, this is about securing the ballot, and we look forward to the Electoral Commission’s conclusions on the pilots.

Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

Does the Minister not agree that electoral fraud is rare in this country and could be tackled locally? If he thinks that that is how it should be tackled, will he help local government with resources?

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

It is always a pleasure to be asked a question by the hon. Gentleman. We are taking a range of measures to secure the protection of our electoral system, and I do not think that an ID check that originated in the 19th century and that was based on a small percentage of the community—and I must say, men—voting, where everyone was known, is still fit in the 21st century.

Photo of Tom Pursglove Tom Pursglove Conservative, Corby

Most people would think that voter ID requirements are perfectly reasonable. On the pilots, what steps were taken comprehensively to ensure that people were aware of the requirements?

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

I thank my hon. Friend for his question. A range of work was done locally, supported by the Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Office with councils’ consent, to ensure that voters were aware of the requirements. The indications so far are that that has been successful, but of course we will look at the Electoral Commission’s independent review before making further decisions on the process.