back to article 'A sledgehammer to crack a nut': Charities slam UK voter ID trials

Mandatory voter ID trials are "dangerous" and won't stop the main cause of election fraud, UK government has been told. A group of 40 charities and academics have written to Chloe Smith, minister for the constitution, setting out their concerns about voter ID pilots planned for May's local elections. The government is …

  1. Alister Silver badge

    Alternative solutions offered – which include the use of utility bills – "are also problematic" because they lack photo ID, are easier to fake and are again inaccessible to people who don't pay bills.

    And increasingly, don't exist, as more and more utility companies are offering incentives to customers to use online billing instead of paper.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Can we stop this WW2 regurgitation nonsense. We are not in the late 1940-es and it is not that ID card.

      The norm worldwide is to have a photo ID and to use it for the purpose of proving who are you on the voter roll. It is only US and UK continuing to fret on the subject about underrepresented minorities. Under-represented minorities also party on Ibiza you know and for that they need a passport (definitely was the case last time I flew there).

      There are plenty of countries which are SIGNIFICANTLY more liberal and democratic despite having a National ID and requiring a photo ID for nearly everything including voting. For example - I have not noticed any Scandinavian country going to the dark side of fascism just yet.

      It is not like the UK govt does not have at least several complete databases covering everyone from the cradle to the grave. Not having an expression of that in the form of ID is actually a HUGE extra cost which we pay for every time we deal with services, elections, credits, mortgages or even basic things like enforcing traffic offence tickets.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Perhaps those countries can tolerate identity cards precisely because they are significantly more liberal and democratic.

        If the Swedish or German government inroduced an ID card, would I trust them to make individual privacy a top priority, and to not subvert the scheme into a means of tracking every detail of their subjects' activities? Possibly. Would I trust Amber Rudd with the same question? Absolutely not.

        1. Colin Miller

          European ID cards

          If the Swedish or German government inroduced an ID card, would I trust them to make individual privacy a top priority, and to not subvert the scheme into a means of tracking every detail of their subjects' activities? Possibly. Would I trust Amber Rudd with the same question? Absolutely not.

          Germany does have ID cards - they're administrated by the Länder, the 16 federal states, but are now printed centrally. The Länder are on strict instructions, that should the Federal Government become authoritarian, they are to destroy their records. The reasons for this should be obvious to all.

          Sweden also has ID cards.

          The EU has a list of all identifying documents issued by each member. However, it doesn't indicate what can be used if the police ask you for ID. Britain is one of the few countries that accept your driver's license, which doesn't indicate your citizenship, only which country it was issued by. However, the police will check with the Home Office if they have doubts over a persons citizenship.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Umm...the German government DO have an ID card, and introduced it decades ago. It's a legal requirement to own one, or a passport.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_identity_card

        3. big_D Silver badge

          Germany has had ID cards since before WW2. Although the allies introduced a reformed version after the war. This has been superseded a few times, before we come to the current version.

          Everybody must carry a form of identification with them - I am not a German citizen, so I don't get the ID card (Ausweis), so I have to carry my UK passport. The German ID card is also chipped and can be used to register for some online services, although it is still not widely supported.

          1. Joe Werner

            > Everybody must carry a form of identification with them ...

            Actually not as I remember it. You need to have an ID card (Ausweispflicht) but unless you are working in certain fields (cannot remember which ones) you do not have to have it with you (Mitführpflicht) - as far as I recall. Might be different for foreigners, but I'm not sure about that. I carry it with me anyway... (and also have it with me abroad while the passport stays in the hotel safe - need that to go back home - wherever that is now...)

            1. big_D Silver badge

              You are technically correct, there is no "Mitführpflicht", but if you are stopped, you have to show it... I believe it is at the discretion of the police, whether you can go and fetch it yourself and go to a police station or whether they accompany you "back home" (or wherever) to collect it or held until somebody else turns up with your ID - a pain if you are visiting the friends at the other end of the country and have to wait a day until someone can bring your ID...

              Certainly, if the Zoll (Customs & Excise) do a raid on a business, E.g. looking for illegal workers, they will usually accompany anyone who doesn't have their ID with them as they go and collect it or hold them until somebody can bring the ID along.

      2. ad47uk

        Labour was going to bring in an I.D card when they was last in power, they spent millions on it and yet when the Tories got in it was scraped. So many was against it that it would have cost even more to go after the people who would have refused to register and that would include me.

        While the Tories did say they wanted to bring in a voluntary I.D card before they lost power to Labour it never happened.

        I think it will be many years before the U.K have an I.D Card system, if it ever does. Now that we are leaving the E.U, it will become less likely, because to be honest I had visions of the E.U forcing one onto E.U countries.

        We have managed without I.D cards for years and we do not need them now.

        Not that any of the parties in this country are worth voting for anyway, all a waste of space.

        1. The obvious

          Labour *DID* bring in an ID Card system, it was scrapped by both the Tories (on financial grounds) and the Lib Dems (on the basis of civil liberty/privacy concerns).

          Had it been merely an ID Card which establishes that the owner is who they say they are and a PKI cert so the owner could do the same for online transactions (exactly as they do in many other countries) then we'd probably still have it and there wouldn't have ever been a problem for most people. It would be quite useful for the homeless I'd have thought (once their ID was initially established, which is not always trivial).

          Unfortunately that is not what we got... instead what we got was a vastly overreaching biometric database that logged every time it was accessed (forever) that could not be proved wrong in court (leading to an effective end-run around habeas corpus), that broke the web of trust based around other forms of ID, provided a single point of failure/weakness for identity theft and was really a multi-billion pound boondoggle for whoever got the backhander from Crapita.

        2. Fonant

          Card not the problem.

          The idea of an ID card wasn't the problem. It was the massive database of every personal detail that was the problem.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Card not the problem.

            The last ID card attempt brought up the folk memory of the case in the 1950s - when a man refused to show his wartime ID card to a policeman. IIRC the outcome was the voiding of all the ID card regulations. Too many overtones of "Papers please".

          2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Gimp

            It was the massive database of every personal detail that was the problem.

            Indeed.

            The "National Identity Register" and its cradle-to-grave surveillance of everything and everyone.

            Decades after the IRA ceased to be a serious threat to UK, as opposed to the assorted jackasses making up the so-called "Islamist threat," which the data fetishists of the Home Office big up at every opportunity.

            In common law countries no one is required to have a government issued document (of any kind) to validate who they are.

      3. Captain Hogwash
        Coat

        Re: the dark side of fascism

        Fascism has a light side? Who knew?

        1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

          Re: the dark side of fascism

          > Fascism has a light side? Who knew?

          Springtime for Hitler, maybe?

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPXHRX8Q2hs

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: the dark side of fascism

          the lighter side

      4. Joe Werner

        Scandinavia

        At least in Norway you have an ID on the bank card (well, a picture, and the name is on it anyway, and it counts as ID for most uses)... but you could argue that it is sort of a communist state ;-p so the Brits don't want to copy that...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Scandinavia

          "[...] bank card [...]"

          IIRC Barclays and/or Barclaycard allow you to submit any picture you wish to personalise your plastic cards.

          1. Stu Mac

            Re: Scandinavia

            It has been obvious to anyone with a brain that Banks should be given this cost. All bank cards and credit cards to have photo ID and biometric data onboard. No excuse for most people after that.

            1. iron Silver badge

              Re: Scandinavia

              Hey Adolf Mac piss off with your fascist ideals, they have no place in a free and democratic society.

              Plus how do you suggest banks collect these photos and biometric data when most people don't have a branch conveniently nearby and some banks are online-only?

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Scandinavia

              "All bank cards and credit cards to have photo ID and biometric data onboard. "

              IIRC a lot of people in the UK can't get a bank account. Apart from financial considerations like credit checks etc - it also needs identification. Catch-22.

      5. Justin Case

        @ Voland's right hand - Fail!

        minorities also party on Ibiza you know and for that they need a passport (definitely was the case last time I flew there).

        A driving licence is for driving. Not all driving licences have a photo. Not everybody can drive.

        A passport is for foreign travel. If you don't travel abroad you shouldn't need one.

      6. Stu Mac

        When asked "minorities" tend to quite offended anyone should assume they don't have ID. It tends to go with a home, a job, transport (personal or public), a bank account, a passport, social welfare. If anything they may be MORE likely to be able to present ID.

        The simple truth is that anyone a nation should want to vote has ID or can obtain such with trivial inconvenience

        .

        Almost certainly people with no presentable means of identification or who refuse to obtain such should not be voting!

    2. paulf Silver badge
      Coat

      FTA: "...individual votes only hold any value when thousands of others are cast in the same way – meaning "it's simply impractical to steal enough votes to make a tangible difference"."

      There would be a significant amount of work involved which probably explains why there were only 44 allegations. To make any tangible difference you'd have to implement fraud on an industrial scale as you'd need to steal perhaps a few hundred (local authority) or more (GE) votes, assuming it's not a marginal. To do that you'd need to organise lots of different "thieves" to go and vote early before the real people showed up as the polling station staff will likely get suspicious when one person votes repeatedly. You'd also have to avoid the returning officer declaring the poll void due to repeated people showing up wondering why their vote has already been unexpectedly cast. This is already a helluva lot of work to make any difference and even then it may possibly sway the outcome of only one constituency (out of 650 parliamentary constituencies in the UK) so you'd need a serious reason to do it.

      It's much easier to persuade the electorate with a fat pack of demonstrable lies while getting your mates in the media to run repeated stories that back up your claims; then let the more credulous elements of the electorate do the hard work for you. Red bus anyone?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "To make any tangible difference you'd have to implement fraud on an industrial scale [...]"

        Postal votes are the easy target since it became possible to ask for one without any proven reason why you couldn't vote in person. IIRC there has been proven rigging in at least one local election on a relatively large scale. Usually candidates' supporters "helping" people to fill them in.

        1. Richard Cranium

          Postal votes are the bigger problem

          A combination of "the head of the household" and "community leaders" helping people complete the postal or proxy vote application. (especially where literacy is an issue).

          As for ID cards - yes we should have them but the model set up by the last labour government was too intrusive, too expensive and the benefits to ordinary citizens not convincingly communicated. Base it on a successful model from elsewhere in Europe.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      UK has an ID card system - it's a maze of poor quality databases

      i discovered this when I flew in to UK for a ISO/IEC technical committee meeting at the Home Office Passport department. I had booked a rental car at Luton Airport. I arrived with my UK biometric Passport, my UK Driving license and various scraps of paper with codes on them. The car rental company and its car-service provider were not able to offer me my booked & paid-for car. Why? although I had all this hard ID credentials, they explained that I didnt exist on any of their available UK databases, I was a ghost.

      The German ISO/IEC Passport expert pointed out that their population register would have allowed me my car, and it was our blind insistence on only having super squirrel secret spook databases rather than a useful civil database that caused & causes 800 million youths from across the world to strive to get to the UK, as no pop.reg. means no easy immigration situation.

      (the Labour ID card was probably also canned because the gov couldnt afford to scrap and unify the current (faulty) GIGO databases - which contain quite a lot of real data (equifax etc) inside, but quite a lot of wrong info also, into a single good database , sort of bulk citizen database, but available for civil use.)

    4. Innocent bannister
      Stop

      Smoke and mirrors

      This is all smoke and mirrors. The present government is trying to rid the electoral roll of everyone who doesn't vote for them. Students are better informed than most Sun readers so they must go. The homeless will almost certainly be unhappy with austerity so lets make home ownership/residence a condition of voting. Nothing that has been suggested by government so far is free of a hidden agenda. Perhaps if they concentrated on the problem of identity without trying to gain some secondary benefit it could be resolved quite fairly. While we are on the subject of fraud what has happened to the inquiry about the Tory company who were telephoning voters in marginal seats to convince them to vote Tory right up till the morning of voting?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    44 allegations

    Only a single case found to be true.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: 44 allegations

      When student union leaders were actively instructing people to double vote and where it is very difficult to verify who has voted twice, of course it was more than 44 people who double voted.

      1. Frank Bitterlich

        Re: 44 allegations

        Not being from the UK, I wonder how that works? Don't you have voter lists where every voter is being struck out when they have voted?

        1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

          Re: 44 allegations

          yes ...

        2. TomH72

          Re: 44 allegations

          Students are legally allowed to be registered at both their home address and their college address but (in a general election) can only vote in one place - they get to choose which but don't have to tell anybody and there's no cross checking.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 44 allegations

            And voter ID itself will make no difference to the ability to be registered at both.

        3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: 44 allegations

          Students go off to their university can vote there - they're not supposed to vote at home, but aren't removed from the list for their home ward too.

          There is evidence that student union leaders were actively telling other students to go and vote twice in order to favour the marxist* opposition. Unfortunately the punishment for both crimes isn't ten years in jail.

          * Yes really. No that isn't hyperbole anymore. "I am the last marxist in parliament" said the shadow chancellor. The leader of the opposition spent a recent holiday in Mexico to visit the house of his idol Leon Trotsky.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 44 allegations

            there is nothing wrong with marxist, its the leninist/stalinist bit you want to avoid

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: 44 allegations

            No that isn't hyperbole anymore. "I am the last marxist in parliament" said the shadow chancellor. The leader of the opposition spent a recent holiday in Mexico to visit the house of his idol Leon Trotsky.

            What a lovely quote taken out of context. The sort of dark-arts propaganda one would expect to see coming from Goebbels.

            A couple of years a go, I went to Berlin for a short break. As part of this, I visited such places as Checkpoint Charlie, the former headquarters of the STASI, the holocaust memorials (the well known one, as well as the ones in the Tiergarten), and the site of the former SS headquarters. By your logic, I should be viewed simultaneously as a Soviet tank driver, an American tank driver, a Stalinist, a Jew, a Homosexual, a Sinti, a Roma, and a blackshirt.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 44 allegations

            There is no evidence that the students did though (other than the one instance). I suggest you go to the middle of the street and cluck like a chicken. Doesn’t mean you will, or have done.

      2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: 44 allegations

        When student union leaders were actively instructing people to double vote and where it is very difficult to verify who has voted twice, of course it was more than 44 people who double voted.

        [Citation required]

        I'm going to call bullshit on this one.

        Last time I went to cast my vote, they found my name on the list and crossed it off before handing me the voting papers. This is how the prevent double-voting, and is how they have done it in every election I have voted in back to the early '90s.

        1. Blane Bramble

          Re: 44 allegations

          @Loyal Commenter

          But as a student your details are present on two different lists in two different polling stations.

          Now do you understand the potential issue?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: 44 allegations

            Check both lists, is the name crossed off on both? Yes or no. If yes, voted twice. There is only a single case of this having happened. 1 case.

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              Re: 44 allegations

              Check both lists, is the name crossed off on both? Yes or no. If yes, voted twice. There is only a single case of this having happened. 1 case.

              Well there's only asingle case of it being shown to have happened maybe, but that doesn't prove anything. As it's a check that's not normally made.

              Not that I suspect it's happened all that much, as it would mean travelling to two polling stations in different towns on the same day. Or going to the trouble of getting a postal voting form for one (or both) of them.

              But given we don't run regular checks on this, you wouldn't expect many cases to show up.

              If there is wide scale electoral fraud, it's much more likely to happen with the postal voting system. Where it's much easier to carry out. Relatively easy to steal all the votes of people sharing a house for example (as well as some that have since moved on).

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: 44 allegations

                44 allegations. I suspect the check was made at least 44 times.

              2. sabroni Silver badge

                Re: 44 allegations

                How many lefty students are organised enough to vote at uni and at home on the same day? Who's paying for the transport, the Marxist Leninist student vote doubling committee? I can guarantee if those lazy bastard have got the coach fare home it's going on weed not vote rigging.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: 44 allegations

                  In UK anyone can apply for a postal vote so its quite possible for students to have received 2 ballot papers for different constituencies and decide which one to use and return. There was a big campaign to get people, especially students, to register before the last election and getting a postal vote is just a matter of ticking a box on the web page. N.b. probably the easy access to postal votes is more likely to be a source of electoral fraud

          2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: 44 allegations

            "Now do you understand the potential issue?"

            Yes and no. I understand that there is a known group of people who appear on lists in more than one constituency. I understand that they are crossed off when they vote in either constituency. I understand the need for *how* you voted to be private.

            I do not understand why *whether* you voted should be private and therefore do not understand why someone can't spend some time cross-checking the two lists. If you don't like it, you could always ask for yourself to be removed from one of the lists.

            I also don't understand why so much effort is expended against people who vote in person when the majority of proven fraud is through the postal vote system. It's almost like they don't actually want to reduce voter fraud, as long as it is the kind of fraud that the parties control.

    2. Tinslave_the_Barelegged Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: 44 allegations

      > Only a single case found to be true.

      But in spite of this, the wrong lizards keep getting re-elected.

  3. Alister Silver badge

    My recollection is that I've always received a polling card through the post before a local or general election, which I've presented to the officiating officer at the polling station prior to voting.

    Is this voter ID trial more about saving on printing and postage, I wonder, than it is about voter fraud?

    1. rh587

      My recollection is that I've always received a polling card through the post before a local or general election, which I've presented to the officiating officer at the polling station prior to voting.

      You do receive a card, but that's more of a confirmation that you are registered, and informing you which polling station you are registered at. It is not required to actually vote.

      If you turn up without your polling card and simply tell them your name they will issue your ballot paper (and strike through your name on their list, preventing you voting again later).

      1. Korev Silver badge

        As a student I shared a house with a man and a woman; on the day of the General Election I managed to grab one of the others' card. It was only picked up because it said Miss on it and had been my other housemate's then I'd have taken his vote.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Korev

          Congratulations to admitting to a criminal offence on an open forum.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            "Congratulations to admitting to a criminal offence on an open forum."

            I don't think it was a criminal offence. You hand over your card and then you are asked to confirm your name and address. When he'd have said his own name, but the right address, the mistake would have been clear.

            1. Mycho Silver badge

              While we're admitting to technical electoral fraud, can I just confess that I once voted in a loony party t-shirt while blissfully unaware that it was illegal to wear political symbols when you go to vote?

              Not that they were standing in my constituency.

    2. 's water music Silver badge

      My recollection is that I've always received a polling card through the post before a local or general election, which I've presented to the officiating officer at the polling station prior to voting.

      There is no need to present your polling card. I rarely do. You just have to give a name that corresponds to one on the electoral roll at your designated polling station. You get ticked off their list. Double voting is only easy if you are on more than one electoral roll which students are quite likely to be.

    3. DJO Silver badge

      Is this voter ID trial more about saving on printing and postage, I wonder, than it is about voter fraud?

      No, like in the US the primary function is to suppress the votes of people more likely to vote for left wing candidates.

      These actions represent a far more serious voter fraud than anything conducted at the polling booth but as it's being done by the government itself everything is just rosy.

    4. bigiain

      no its about a Conservative government dis-enfranchising poorer voters who tend not to vote Conservative

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Voter suppression

        On the other hand it's geriatrics who are unlikely to have photo ID, too old to drive, too frail for jaunts abroad.

        The real problem (which includes making it easier for students to vote twice) is that gaining a postal vote has been made increasingly easy over the last couple of decades.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Voter suppression

          "On the other hand it's geriatrics who are unlikely to have photo ID, too old to drive, too frail for jaunts abroad"

          Also an increasing large demographic who usually vote - and apparently predominantly Tory. They also have folk memories of hated wartime ID cards - demanded to be shown by petty officials.

          1. Moonraker29

            Re: Voter suppression

            And if all your bills are in your partners name then, you have nothing to prove who or where you live. My mu being an example of this.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "no its about a Conservative government dis-enfranchising poorer voters who tend not to vote Conservative"

        I only renewed my passport and driving licence at 70 for old times sake - I have no need for either. It is my impression that elderly people are less likely to have any truck with an ID system of any sort. Too many folk memories of "Papers please" for wartime ID cards. They are not only more likely to vote - and vote Tory (apparently) - but are also an increasingly large demographic.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          They are not only more likely to vote - and vote Tory (apparently) - but are also an increasingly large demographic.

          Actually, since the war ended nearly 73 years ago, people who remember and actually had the wartime ID cards are a decreasing demographic. Cards were not required or issued after Feb 1952, 66 years ago, so in practice, those who remember are 70ish+ years old. The older ones are dying and there are no newer ones. Better medical advances mean people live longer, but that only reduces the rate of decline, not the decline itself. Death and taxes etc.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "Actually, since the war ended nearly 73 years ago, people who remember and actually had the wartime ID cards are a decreasing demographic."

            Many Baby Boomers were well aware of their elders' complaints about wartime petty officialdom. Dad's Army scripted the ARP Warden to fit the stereotype. Anyone apparently exhibiting that sort of abuse of power was generally referred to as a "little 'itler". That's why I used the term "folk memory".

      3. tom dial Silver badge

        Someone should explain why a requirement for voter identification disenfranchises "poorer voters." Is there a charge for the ID? In the US, all or certainly almost all states with a voter ID requirement will provide one at no charge to anyone based, at most, on a claim of inability to pay.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Is there a charge for the ID?"

          The typical ID using a passport costs about GBP80 every ten years.

          When the Labour government introduced the pilot scheme for identity cards people were invited to apply for them. Circa 2007 they cost GBP30 to buy one. At most about 15,000 were issued - at a total project cost of GBP257 million.

          The article has a nice quote from the then new Tory government. "[...] said the Bill would ‘begin the process of reversing the erosion of civil liberties and restoring freedoms’."

          Wonder what happened to that progressive Tory minister? - someone named Theresa May...

          1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            It's worth noting that one of the main opponents of ID cards at the time was one D. Davis. Make of this what you will.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              "It's worth noting that one of the main opponents of ID cards at the time was one D. Davis."

              IIRC he even took things to one of the European courts in order to override the (sovereign) UK Government's intentions.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It is about reducing votes for labour, who’s main demographic is less likely to have a driving license or passport than the tory demographic. It is after all being pushed by Sir Eric ‘dewono wonga’ Pickles.

    6. A K Stiles
      Coat

      Polling card

      My recollection is that I've always received a polling card through the post before a local or general election, which I've presented to the officiating officer at the polling station prior to voting.

      As has been said, you don't need the polling card to vote, it just tells you where and when you should go to vote. It also tells you that you don't need to take the card with you to vote. If you can't be arsed to read all of the information on the poll card how much other information don't you read? Maybe don't be arsed to vote and express an opinion that is likely to be not fully informed? (unless your voting opinion agrees with mine of course, then you should definitely go and vote at the earliest opportunity!)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Polling card

        "If you can't be arsed to read all of the information on the poll card how much other information don't you read? Maybe don't be arsed to vote and express an opinion that is likely to be not fully informed?"

        I think you are missing the point. Why "trial" producing polling cards when they already exist? I think you are reading waaaay too much into this. It doesn't say much about your own critical thinking process. Maybe if you can't be arsed to think things through properly than maybe you can't "be arsed to vote and express an opinion that is likely to be not fully informed?"

    7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "My recollection is that I've always received a polling card through the post before a local or general election, which I've presented to the officiating officer at the polling station prior to voting."

      Same here. I was wondering why they need special pilot schemes to test something that has been SOP for years.

    8. TheDillinquent
      Big Brother

      Fraud

      "Is this voter ID trial more about saving on printing and postage, I wonder, than it is about voter fraud?"

      No, it's a Tory attempt to disenfranchise people that at unlikely to vote for them.

      So it's not about preventing voter fraud, it's about perpetrating a fraud on the voters.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Requirement to enter ballot alone ...

    one of the most worrying developments of recent years is the rise of postal voting ... where people can be advised" how to vote with no oversight.

    Personally, I'd take the hit of voter ID if it was matched with a a requirement to cast your vote in the polling station, *alone* .....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Requirement to enter ballot alone ...

      Ok, so you get to vote, what about the 11 million of us?

    2. Geekpride

      Re: Requirement to enter ballot alone ...

      Having to go to the polling station would make it much more difficult for disabled people to vote.

  5. Ralph the Wonder Llama
    Joke

    Vote early...

    ...vote often.

  6. Roj Blake Silver badge

    It's almost as though...

    ...they don't want certain types of people to vote.

    I can't imagine why though.

    1. devnull791101

      Re: It's almost as though...

      yeah exactly, you know people who are cheating the system. people like Marsha-Jane Thompson. people who intimidate others to vote for certain parties, abusing the postal vote system. the fact that all the criminals seem to support one party doesn't mean there's no legitimate reason

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: It's almost as though...

        When the requirement for ID was touted a little while back there were reports that this would somehow disenfranchise minority groups etc.

        Then some bright spark went and actually *interviewed* the very people that were being used as part of that argument against requiring ID and all of them said they had no problem with it, in fact most of them welcomed it.

        Doesn't assuming a generic lack of some kind of ability/opportunity based on a racial stereo-type count as racism? With all the changing meanings of the word it's hard to know for sure, but I'm fairly sure it actually does mean that. Well, that's exactly how those people interviewed reacted anyway - e.g. "where do they get off on assuming we wouldn't have ID?" etc.

        1. Graham Cobb

          Re: It's almost as though...

          Then some bright spark went and actually *interviewed* the very people that were being used as part of that argument against requiring ID and all of them said they had no problem with it, in fact most of them welcomed it.

          Citation please. I would like to examine how the study discovered the people to interview. As far as I know, the people who do not have ID are unlikely to be easy to find and would be very interested to learn how the researchers managed that.

          Just because there may be disproportionate numbers of some ethnic groups within the group of people without ID does not mean that anyone is suggesting that most (or even many) of the members of those ethnic groups do not have ID.

          The problem is that the suffrage is supposed to be universal: not restricted by money, belongings, lifestyle, habits, priorities or beliefs.

          And this is addressing a NON-EXISTENT PROBLEM! So, there must be some other explanation.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: It's almost as though...

            I'd love to provide a citation, but it wasn't something I took detailed notes about unfortunately and it was a few months back that I saw it.

            It's possible that the initial justification was exaggerated in order to easily refute it, hard to tell now.

  7. Thoguht Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Impersonation?

    ...there were just 44 allegations of impersonation...

    Actually that would be personation rather than impersonation.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      I'd argue that if you don't pay any bills you're either here illegally, squatting or not mature enough to cast a vote.

      Simply not true. In many households one partner or the other (usually, but not always, the man) will pay all the utility bills.

      1. Graham Cobb

        Or you just choose a lifestyle that does not include those things. There is no law saying you have to travel or pay bills, or even socialise with other people, to have the right to vote.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Simply not true. In many households one partner or the other (usually, but not always, the man) will pay all the utility bills."

        Yep, had a lot of bother proving who my wife was the last time the local council did an electoral roll re-assessment. We both ended up having to go down to the town hall with marriage cert., birth cert. and her bank statements. They got a little tetchy over me redacting everything they didn't need to know about such as balance, transactions etc. but accepted it in the end. Neither of us have any photo ID of any kind. No passports (long expired) and my driving licence is a pink paper one (lost the green one)

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          my driving licence is a pink paper one (lost the green one)

          I hope you are aware that that piece of paper is no longer legally part of the driving license, so if you don't have the photocard license, and are driving, then you are doing so without a license, and may find yourself having a difficult conversation with the local constabulary if you get stopped at a traffic census.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            >> my driving licence is a pink paper one (lost the green one)

            > I hope you are aware that that piece of paper is no longer legally part of the driving license, so if you don't have the photocard license, and are driving, then you are doing so without a license, and may find yourself having a difficult conversation with the local constabulary if you get stopped at a traffic census.

            That's not true. Old-style paper licences do not have to be exchanged for photocard ones unless you move house, gain or lose entitlements etc. It's quite clearly spelled-out here:

            https://www.gov.uk/exchange-paper-driving-licence

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            "I hope you are aware that that piece of paper is no longer legally part of the driving license, so if you don't have the photocard license, and are driving, then you are doing so without a license, and may find yourself having a difficult conversation with the local constabulary if you get stopped at a traffic census."

            Not true. Only the paper counterpart that was issued with a photo licence is now invalid. All licences issued prior to the introduction of the photo license are valid until the holder reaches the age of 70. I have to submit my licence every year for insurance checking as I drive a company car. It is accepted every time, as it is when I get a hire car when my company car is in for a service. And I'm not the only one in our company without a photo licence.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ...or my wife?

    3. bigiain

      or need to use things like pre-paid power cards as you don't have enough income for a bank account

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >I'd argue that if you don't pay any bills you're either here illegally, squatting or not mature enough to cast a vote.

      All the household bills are in my name. My wife and soon-to-be-18 year old daughter will both be fully eligible to vote in the next election in my area (unless we have another snap election before June), but will not be able to provide utility bills to prove identity.

      1. tom dial Silver badge

        Utility bills prove identity? Really?

        I call BS on that claim.

    5. Jon 37

      Or just moved in.

      Or get all your bills online.

      Or live in a rented room with all utilities included in the rent.

      Or just turned 18.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        It's not hard to fake a utility bill. I remember in my first days sharing a student house, having to knock up a fake bill - because we'd been in the house for too short a time for any to come yet.

        Clearly though we couldn't live without a telly and video, and so had to rent one by day 2. And they needed that bill. I think it was an insurance company that I chose to be...

        I wonder if you can still rent TVs?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > I'd argue that if you don't pay any bills you're either here illegally, squatting or not mature enough to cast a vote.

      Are you Tory or UKIP?

    7. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      FAIL

      I'd argue that if you don't pay any bills you're either here illegally, squatting or not mature enough to cast a vote.

      Or, like me, have a name which only exists on the electoral roll.

      That's perfectly legal in the UK, for anyone, providing it's not done for criminal or fraudulent purposes.

      Given that name doesn't exist anywhere other than on the electoral roll I am intrigued how I am expected to present any proof of identity at a polling station when I go to vote. I guess it would involve a sworn affidavit along the lines of "I am who I am; my own special creation".

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
        Joke

        I'm the bill payer, and so's my wife!

  9. Yves Kurisaki

    This is not about the government trying to prevent voter fraud.

    This is a Tory government trying to take votes away from Labour.

    1. devnull791101

      if the only way labour can get in is by committing fraud then they should be prevented from doing so

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is a Tory government trying to take votes away from Labour.

      Well given the vast electoral advantage that the Labour party have from smaller average constituencies in many of their strongholds, I don't think they can really complain.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >Well given the vast electoral advantage that the Labour party have from smaller average constituencies in many of their strongholds, I don't think they can really complain.

        Are we talking smaller in size, or in population? Many of the larger geographic constituencies are population sparse. Average size in England is 72,400, down to 56,800 in Wales.

        http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/elections-and-voting/constituencies/

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Are we talking smaller in size, or in population?

          Smaller in population.

          Labour get more seats on fewer votes - on average.

          The effect has reduced over recent years because of the electoral disaster in Scotland. Where Labour were regularly winning most of the seats until the SNP took a dramatic lead. But is also true of their English seats. I think recently it's been because suburban seat (more Tory) population was rising faster than city centre (more Labour) population.

          As part of England trying not to dominate everything quite so much, Scotland and Wales had many fewer voters per constituency in the past. Getting them a disproportionate number of MPs for their population. Though this was corrected somewhat after devolution. Which is why Scotland has dropped from returning 70-odd seats to the mid-50s.

      2. Beebs

        Yet at the last election the Tories got 297 seats from 12,379,200 votes and Labour got 227 seats from 11,390,099 votes. Giving the Tories 0.000024 seats per vote compared to Labour's 0.00002 seats per vote.

        That doesn't seem like a massive electoral advantage to me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Reserach I've read indicated that had the pending boundary review been implemented before the last elecetion the the Conservatives would have ended up with a small majority. Remember, current constituencies haven't been revised for over 10 years (boundary review in 2010-15 was voted down due to Libdems throwing a strop over the House of Lords revision being abandoned) + the previous boundary review had been heavily skewed towards Labour as they'd done significant work to organise local campaigns to sujpport boudnary reviews that favoured them with the result that bounmdary reviews are now no longer seen as a non-politcal.

        2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Beebs,

          It's a feature of constituency size. Labour's are on average smaller.

          Because we have a first-past-the-post system that can play very differently on overall population votes per seat. Labour under Blair got a 60 seat overall majority on 36% of the vote in 2005 (with the Tories 1% behind), Cameron in 2010 missed a majority by 15 seats on 37% of the vote (with Labour 7% behind). Those figures are from memory (I'm lazy) but they're broadly correct.

          Obviously if we had a proportional system we wouldn't have these problems. Although they create their own little wrinkles themselves. Such as say the German FDP having I don't think ever got more than 10% of the vote, but having been in government solidly from the 50s to the 90s - in coalition with either the SPD or CDU. FPP makes it easier to get rid of people you don't like, to "kick the bums out". PR gives a fairer chance to smaller parties, and leads to more coalitions. Pick your poison...

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            "PR gives a fairer chance to smaller parties, and leads to more coalitions. Pick your poison..."

            Of the various forms of PR, definitely not the Italian version! :-)

            1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

              I read a new thing about the Italian system yesterday. They have a constitutional backup for when an election goes wrong, such as this one, and leaves them with little reaslistic chance of a coalition forming. The numbers are wrong - without some very strange bedfellows. Re-running the election is expected to yield the same result. In Germany they re-formed the grand coalition for the same reason.

              But in Italy they have another option. The termporary government. Often lead by technocrats it's there to keep the lights on, pass a budget through Parliament and do as little else as possible. But it's often expected to one other job, pass a new electoral law in order to come up with a new voting system that hopefully will give a different result at the next election so they can actually form a political government.

              Of course the last government lost its PM (Renzi) and its popularity holding a referendum on chaning the electoral system. After it had already abolished the previous one - so they couldn't resign and hold an election as there was no law in place to run it under. It took 18 months to agree.

              I think the Italians may have changed their electoral system in the last 20 years as many times as the UK has held elections...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "This is a Tory government trying to take votes away from Labour."

      The "natural" Tory demographic is supposedly elderly people. An ever larger demographic who tend to vote - and are unlikely to have any truck with ID cards.

  10. devnull791101

    labour voters

    considering comrade corbyns choice of campaign mangers its unsurprising there are people who don't agree with voting fraud prevention. if you can't manage to bring a polling card to the voting station you shouldnt be voting in the first place.

  11. SiFly

    Utility Bills : who gets printed utility bills these days ? and i am sure they can be faked

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Utility Bills : who gets printed utility bills these days ? and i am sure they can be faked

      Even if they aren't, they don't mean anything. Energy companies do credit checks for new customers, if they have none (or fail the check) then they will be offered a pre-payment meter. That still produces an energy bill that links the name and the address, but means essentially nothing. Doesn't mean the name is bona fide, doesn't mean the live at the address of the bill. I've worked for a couple of utilities, and I've never understood why other organisations (particularly the public sector) put so much faith in a utility bill.

      And I've repeatedly had "print at home" on line bills accepted, so it would obviously be very, very easy to edit the PDF, and print that. Use a high quality printer, like ANY modern photo-capable inkjet, print duplex if needed in colour, high res, quick overspray to pass any "smudge test", and the job's a good 'un. If done well I doubt that an employee of the utility would readily spot the forgery unless they validated the details against the systems.

      1. earl grey Silver badge
        Facepalm

        put so much faith in a utility bill.

        For the same reason they put so much faith in birth certificates... like those have some awesome certified source and can't be copied.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: put so much faith in a utility bill.

          "For the same reason they put so much faith in birth certificates... like those have some awesome certified source and can't be copied."

          It's not hard to go down the local Registry Office and get a kosha one either.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I know whats coming here.

    Bio-metrics.

    Sure they will have to set it up but then they can say they are being a caring government thinking of everyone for the betterment of society. Who needs actual ID when your finger/face or eyeball will give you away?

  13. Starace

    Doesn't seem to understand how voting works

    "it's simply impractical to steal enough votes to make a tangible difference".

    You don't steal votes to build a support base from nothing.

    You only need to steal enough to shift the majority. In many cases the number of votes required for that is trivial.

    1. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't seem to understand how voting works

      Switch the right 68 votes and the Conservatives are down two MP's http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/mps-maj.htm

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Doesn't seem to understand how voting works

        And in the other direction it only needed something like a couple of thousand voteers spread around a a handful of constituencies to have given the conservatives a majority.

      2. Fred Dibnah

        Re: Doesn't seem to understand how voting works

        An argument for getting rid of First Past the Post if ever I saw one.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Doesn't seem to understand how voting works

          An argument for getting rid of First Past the Post if ever I saw one.

          I give you Italy as a counter-argument.

          1. strum Silver badge

            Re: Doesn't seem to understand how voting works

            >I give you Italy

            Grazie.

      3. A K Stiles

        Re: Doesn't seem to understand how voting works

        "Switch the right 68 votes and the Conservatives are down two MP's http://www.politicsresources.net/area/uk/mps-maj.htm"

        and actually it's only 35 votes, as those numbers are majorities so it not only comes off their majority total but gets added to their opponent total - 14 votes taken from Davies and added to Labour total, 21 votes from Solloway and added to Labour total and neither would have had their seats in 2015 ( Both of them lost their seats to Labour by 2000+ majorities in the 2017 debacle / general election )

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Doesn't seem to understand how voting works

      Also, once you start getting so many votes, you have the right to representation on the BBC, in local authority discussions ...

      In fact local elections are probably a ripe target for people of dubious integrity. If you look at how few votes it takes to get elected a councillor. Once elected, you get expenses, you can wangle overseas jollies, you get to meet people who want things done (and aren't shy about "consulting" you for assistance. With folded fivers of course).

      1. earl grey Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Doesn't seem to understand how voting works

        "With folded fivers of course"

        Maybe with folded knickers...

  14. TRT Silver badge

    If I had known it was you, vote colonel...

    Obligatory video

  15. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    Don't like it being different per-constituency

    Swindon doing this, Bromley doing that.

    OK these are pilots but what if Constituency 1 (full of natural "Party A" voters) needed full photo ID and urine sample, but Constituency 2 ("Party B" voters) needed only a big smile and every voter gets a Free! chocolate bunny.

    1. earl grey Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Don't like it being different per-constituency

      Free! chocolate bunny.

      I want a bunny.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't like it being different per-constituency

      "[...] every voter gets a Free! chocolate bunny."

      Illegal since the days when the Rotten Boroughs only needed to buy the locals a few pints.

      "According to a recent report by the Electoral Commission, 73 cases of alleged electoral fraud relating to voting offences were recorded by police in 2014. Of these four cases - 5% - related to allegations of "treating"."

  16. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Democracy

    “Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote.”

    -Mort

    “The Ephebians believed that every man should have the vote (provided that he wasn't poor, foreign, nor disqualified by reason of being mad, frivolous, or a woman). Every five years someone was elected to be Tyrant, provided he could prove that he was honest, intelligent, sensible, and trustworthy. Immediately after he was elected, of course, it was obvious to everyone that he was a criminal madman and totally out of touch with the view of the ordinary philosopher in the street looking for a towel. And then five years later they elected another one just like him, and really it was amazing how intelligent people kept on making the same mistakes.”

    -Small Gods

    “I like the idea of democracy. You have to have someone everyone distrusts," said Brutha. "That way, everyone's happy.”

    -Small Gods

    “Vimes had once discussed the Ephebian idea of ‘democracy’ with Carrot, and had been rather interested in the idea that everyone had a vote until he found out that while he, Vimes, would have a vote, there was no way in the rules that anyone could prevent Nobby Nobbs from having one as well. Vimes could see the flaw there straight away.”

    -The Fifth Elephant

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Democracy

      As Churchill said. Democracy is the worst system in the world, apart from all those others that have been tried over the years.

      Clearly if we could make Vetinari tyrant - we'd all be reasonably happy. Apart from mime artists...

      1. John G Imrie Silver badge

        Re: Democracy

        Well IIRC, Vetinari's law on Mime Artists only stopped them performing within the walls of Ank Morpork. The City has sprawled well without the walls lately.

    2. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Democracy

      Also:

      “We put all our politicians in prison as soon as they’re elected. Don’t you?” “Why?” “It saves time.”

      - The Last Continent

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Democracy

        IIRC Frazer's "The Golden Bough" had a bit about some ancient society who elected a headman who then lived in a comparative lap of luxury. When a natural disaster came - then he got the chop - literally.

  17. W Donelson

    This is ONLY about stopping the young and labour voters. Period.

    This is ONLY about stopping the young and labour voters. Period.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: This is ONLY about stopping the young and labour voters. Period.

      Stopping them voting for Labour twice per election, yes.

      If we could somehow clamp down in advance on the increasing number Labour councillors convicted of electoral fraud, that would be nice too.

      1. sabroni Silver badge

        Re: This is ONLY about stopping the young and labour voters. Period.

        So where's all the evidence of fraud?

        1. John G Imrie Silver badge

          Re: This is ONLY about stopping the young and labour voters. Period.

          https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1487144/Judge-lambasts-postal-ballot-rules-as-Labour-6-convicted-of-poll-fraud.html

          However it's not just Labour

          https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2001/mar/10/localgovernment.immigrationpolicy

        2. Speeednet

          Re: This is ONLY about stopping the young and labour voters. Period.

          Google electoral fraud Newham / Tower Hamlets. Jeremy Corbyn has employed somebody that was actually convicted of election fraud. https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/jeremy-corbyn-gives-job-as-campaign-chief-to-leftwinger-guilty-of-voter-fraud-a3684296.html

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is ONLY about stopping the young and labour voters. Period.

      This is ONLY about stopping the young and labour voters. Period.

      How so? Do you think a union membership card wouldn't count as ID?

  18. David Roberts Silver badge

    Who might be at risk of fraud or be disenfranchised?

    Firstly, houses of multiple occupancy such as occupied by students and poorly paid workers. Only one name on the utility bills. Secondly a house with a large family; three generations, perhaps, but only one name on the bill. Very hard to provide ID.

    I assume that the homeless are considered unsuitable to vote.

    Ethnic minorities and especially those with a poor grasp of English and local law. They may find that someone helpful has registered them as voters by helping them fill out the forms (or doing it for them) and then helpfully collected the voting card for them and used it to vote for them.

    Traditional home owners should have little problem with voting; the most you might get is someone using your polling card when you are away (or in hospital, perhaps). It is the poor who don't own or rent their own home who are most likely to be disenfranchised. People living in temporary accomodation, hostels and the like.

    A robust system of ID cards would help to solve many issues to do with disenfranchisement of voters. The Police State issues associated with ID cards may be too high a price to pay. Would you fully trust the current government not to abuse this system in any way?

    However, if you go on holiday to France or Spain, for example, you have to produce ID whenever you book into any accomodation. They still seem to manage to be reasonably democratic. So who knows?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Who might be at risk of fraud or be disenfranchised?

      "A robust system of ID cards would help to solve many issues to do with disenfranchisement of voters. The Police State issues associated with ID cards may be too high a price to pay."

      Maybe if it was something as simple as the old wartime ID card with the addition of a photo, people might be ok with. It's the back end databases and who has access which are in all the modern proposals that people have a problem with.

      Using a basic ID card without huge overreaching requirements, big data gathering and "loose" access requirements, it would not even matter that much if some people used fake details. Once the card is issued, they are stuck with whatever info they gave unless they re-apply to have it changed. If it's an ID card and ONLY ID, then there's no need for on-line checking and tracking of all usage. After all, people are happy to accept a driving licence photo or a passport by simply looking at the picture to confirm it looks sort of like the person standing there without a huge complex back-end infrastructure to track usages and bring up confirmation details on a screen.

    2. Old69

      Re: Who might be at risk of fraud or be disenfranchised?

      "However, if you go on holiday to France or Spain, for example, you have to produce ID whenever you book into any accomodation."

      Apparently the same still applies in England.

      "Premier Inn says CCTV footage does not support this claim. It has since explained that it is unable to offer rooms to people without proper identification checks."

  19. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    Can we not do the American thing

    And have non-driving driving licenses? Use the existing driving license infrastructure, just don't have the actual driving test bit.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Can we not do the American thing

      It's called a provisional license; it's green rather than pink and has a big 'P' on it.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In Northern Ireland (still part of the UK, for now) we've had compulsory photo ID at elections for decades. If you're one of the small number of people who don't have a passport, driving licence or Translink SmartPass, the Electoral Office issues a free Voter Card. I fail to see how this is difficult or problematic.

  21. Mr. Flibble

    Significant barrier?

    "Voter ID reforms present a significant barrier to democratic engagement and could disadvantage young people, older people, disabled, transgender, BAME communities and the homeless"

    I'm confused, I thought you had to have an address to vote anyway, so that won't make it any worse for the homeless, surely? (Not that I'm for or against Voter ID at the moment).

    1. Jon E boy

      Re: Significant barrier?

      "If you are homeless, you can still register to vote even if you don’t have a fixed address.

      To apply to register, you will need to fill in a form which is available to download from

      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/voter-registration-forms-paper-versions

      or it can be requested from your local electoral registration office.

      You can find contact details for your local electoral office at www.yourvotematters.co.uk

      The form asks you for an address where you want to be registered. This can be anywhere in the local authority area where you spend a substantial part of your time or have some connection with, for example, a previous permanent address, a shelter or a park bench. You will be assigned to a polling station near to this address to vote on polling day.

      The form also asks for an address where you can be sent correspondence and your poll card. Alternatively you can opt to pick this up from your local authority."

      Source: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/223101/Registering_to_Vote2017.pdf

  22. earl grey Silver badge
    Happy

    I've been voting for over 50 years

    And i have to admit most of that was without ID. I could simply go in where i was registered to vote and do my thing. It was only after people got afraid of their own shadows and all the retarded political manoeuvering that i was required to actually show and ID prior to voting. Thankfully, in all those years, i have not run into anyone stupid enough to challenge my vote or try to influence me.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Thankfully, in all those years, i have not run into anyone stupid enough to challenge my vote or try to influence me."

    Political parties still have people at the polling station to assess which of their supporters needed to be chivvied to go and vote.

    In the old days such "tellers" stood outside in the rain and there was a policeman nearby. It was emphasised that you could only ask someone for their identifying electoral roll number as they left the polling station. To speak to them before was to risk an accusation of infringing the law about influencing a vote.

    In recent years there are only a few such people. They are allowed to sit inside the entrance hall of the building - and they invariably ask for your number as you enter. Not a policeman in sight either.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      You don't need a policeman if you've got counters from either party, watching each other. But sadly party membership is down - and so they don't have the people to do this anymore. Will be interesting to see if Labour can maintain the Corbyn surge in membership, and whether this might start to have an effect on Conservative membership. The SNP got a big membership boost too, after losing the indy referendum.

      Also, when was this day of policemen at every polling station? I don't ever remember seeing the police when I've voted. Though I've only been voting since the early 90s.

    2. John G Imrie Silver badge

      Tellers

      I've been one of those annoying buggers who asks to see your polling card as you enter and where you get to sit and whether you can talk on the way in or way out is totally dependent on the electoral officer at the polling station. Surprisingly, or may be not, I've always found a grate deal of cooperation between tellers of the opposing parties.

  24. Someone Else Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Who sez...

    Who says the US doesn't export? Seems we're the world leader in exporting arms (of all types), and really fucking bad ideas.

  25. Speeednet

    Are they saying that none of these people have a bank account, passport or anything else that requires ID? You can't even join a library or video club without ID. The only people that are worried about having to show ID are those that are up to no good and are looking to fraudulently affect the result of the vote.

    1. Graham Cobb

      The only people that are worried about having to show ID are those that are up to no good and are looking to fraudulently affect the result of the vote.

      No, the ones who are up to no good and looking to fraudulently affect the result of the vote are either supporting, or ignoring this. They use other, much more reliable, techniques such as postal voting fraud, pushing for internet voting and voting machines or just rewriting constituency boundaries.

      The only people worried about having to show ID are those that have principles. They all have ID but recognise that that is no business of the returning officer as having ID is not part of the suffrage qualification.

  26. Wandering Reader

    Voter ID cards supplementing existing forms of photo ID have been in use for 18 Westminster constituencies for many years.

    http://www.eoni.org.uk/Electoral-Identity-Card/Electoral-Identity-Card-FAQs

  27. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    A pedant writes: it's personation not impersonation.

  28. strum Silver badge

    >Proponents argue that ID is a requirement for collecting packages or renting cars

    But collecting a package or a rental car isn't a right. Voting is.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Corruption, corruption everywhere.

      It's only a "right" if you qualify....

      They want to give everyone the Vote, that's a problem when you bring in

      elements that will vote any which way you tell them.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just stop it already

    This works in most places when implemented.

    In Canada it's worked rather well even though there is fraud, there will always be some fraud.

    Our New "Leader" wants it removed. We will fight him on this and many other issues.

    Register and bring two pieces of ID with at least one with a picture ID.

    They even accept Hydro gas or phone bills as partial proof of ID.

    Anyone that counters this is just begging for more corruption than can be accommodated.

    1. silverfern

      Re: Just stop it already

      I really ought to bite my tongue in saying this but having an ID card with your address on the back (the way it's done here in Germany) would solve most of these problems.

      Don't get me wrong: I still don't like ID cards but as instruments of public administration, I have to admit with gashed teeth that they do have their uses.

  30. unwarranted triumphalism Bronze badge

    Only criminals need fear correct identification.

  31. josephharris

    There is no reason for identity cards; going back more decades than I'll tell you about I have not produced a polling card or other identity [except recently when my daughter makes me!]. Any system that requires identification to be checked will slow the process and either need more polling stations and staff [and cost money] or lead to the kind of queues at polling stations that other countries experience.

    I am not aware of any serious problems to be solved, and in earlier years was very active politically. That identity proofs may be required elsewhere is irrelevant.

    And the best voting system is a third one - the Alternative Vote - which maintains single member constituencies, and ensures that elected members are more representative of constituency opinion, rather that Party dogma.It reduces the power of Party central offices as well. PR puts ever more power in the hands of Party leaders, and leaves one without any certainty about who is one's MP. First Past the Post does give stronger government, but UK government has not had a majority vote since,I think, Attlee's post war Labour one.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      PR takes power *OUT* of the hands of the Party Leaders. The Party may want me to vote for Fred, I'll vote for Jim and Sheila instead.

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