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Voter ID: Electoral Fraud

Volume 699: debated on Thursday 22 July 2021

What assessment the commission has made of the adequacy of the data on electoral fraud used in support of Government proposals to introduce voter ID. (903194)

The commission collects and annually publishes data from all UK police forces on allegations of electoral fraud. The data show that the UK has low levels of proven fraud. In 2019, police forces across the UK recorded 34 cases of alleged personation in polling stations, which resulted in one conviction and one police caution. Cases of electoral fraud that are not reported to the police will not be captured in that data. The commission has no reliable method to estimate how much electoral fraud goes unreported.

If the data show low levels, it is curious that the commission should have concluded that some measure of voter identification was necessary. May I ask the hon. Member to convey to the commission the view that, in fact, a rather more robust and substantial data gathering exercise is required before the case can truly be said to be made for changes in voter identification?

I will indeed convey that. The commission has highlighted that polling station voting in Great Britain remains vulnerable to fraud since there are no checks in place to prevent somebody from claiming to be an elector and voting in their name. That distinguishes voting at polling stations from other parts of the electoral process where identity checks already exist, such as voter registration and postal voting. The commission’s public opinion research shows that this issue concerns voters, but I will pass on the right hon. Member’s view to the commission.