7. What assessment the Electoral Commission has made of the potential effect on the number of young voters of its proposals to require photo identification for voters. (902585)
The Electoral Commission intends to carry out further consultation and analysis during 2014 to identify a proportionate and accessible scheme for verifying identity at polling stations in Great Britain. There will be consideration of the acceptable forms of photographic ID to be included in the scheme and the likely impact on different groups of electors, including young voters.
A written answer from the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, the hon. Member for Wimbledon (Stephen Hammond) on 8 January stated that since 2007, the number of driving licences that are issued to people under the age of 22 has declined by 12.2%. Given that the number of young people who have photographic driving licences is decreasing, does the hon. Gentleman share my concern that requiring photo ID for voting would further reduce the number of young people who participate in democracy?
The experience in Northern Ireland is that the proposed photographic ID scheme is rather popular among young people, not least because it doubles up as proof of age so that they can access pubs. The Electoral Commission has advised the Government on this matter and it is for them to make the decision. However, the early evidence is that voter ID cards are popular with young people.