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Voter ID: National Elections

Volume 736: debated on Thursday 20 July 2023

1. What recent discussions the Committee has had with the Electoral Commission on the adequacy of the implementation of voter ID requirements for national elections. (906085)

I thank my hon. Friend for the question. The Committee discussed the commission’s work to support the implementation of voter ID at its public evidence session in March. A transcript of that session is available on the Committee’s website. The commission has also published an initial analysis of voter ID in the May local elections in England, saying that further work is required to ensure voter ID does not become a barrier to voting and that elections remain accessible to everyone. The commission is undertaking further research and will make recommendations for improvement in its full election report to be published in September, and it will continue to run public awareness activities and provide guidance to electoral administrators ahead of future elections where voter ID is required.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. The commission’s interim report indicates that 14,000 people were turned away due to voter ID restrictions in England, and it warned of concerning signs that voters with disabilities, those who were unemployed or those from particular ethnic groups were disproportionately affected. Given that it says that 4% of people who did not vote said it was due to lack of voter ID, what steps are being taken to ensure that hundreds of thousands of voters are not turned away at the next general election?

I again thank my hon. Friend for that question. It is too soon to draw conclusions about the impact of voter ID on specific groups of people, but the commission has said that some of the emerging evidence is concerning, with the example that data suggests that disabled people and those who are unemployed were more likely than others to give ID as a reason for not voting. Elections should be accessible to everyone, so the commission is working to build a better understanding of specific experiences. As I say, the commission is undertaking further research and will make recommendations in its full election report to be published in September, and it will work with the Government and the electoral community to ensure that elections remain accessible to all.