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Disabled SmartPasses

Volume 448: debated on Tuesday 4 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will take steps to enable Disabled SmartPasses to be used for identification purposes for voting in elections in Northern Ireland. (20535)

I should like to apologize for the delay in replying to this question, which was due to an administrative error.

The Government have no plans to increase the number of specified documents used for electoral identity purposes. The Electoral Identity Card was introduced with the express purpose of allowing all eligible individuals access to appropriately secure photographic identification for voting purposes. The application process for the card is straightforward: the applicant is required to complete a form supplied by the Electoral Office and then return the completed form by post, together with a photograph. The details on the form are then cross-referenced with the relevant individual’s registration details before the card is issued.

I have been assured by the chief electoral officer that there are no accessibility issues that would make it difficult for a disabled person to attain the card.

In addition to the Electoral Identity Card, three other types of document—a passport, the Senior Citizen SmartPass and a photographic driving licence—are valid forms of voter identification. However, the application process for the Disabled SmartPass is currently less secure than any of the other documents used for electoral identification purposes.