“Just another plan to restrict voting” Star Readers' discuss the need of a photo ID to vote

It was confirmed this week that Britons will need to show photo ID to vote in future general elections — primarily as a means of tackling voter fraud. We asked our readers’ what they thought of the announcement.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 3:49 pm
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 4:04 pm

Here are a selection of some of the responses that we had received:

David May is not in favour of the planned implementation, saying; “Election fraud is virtually zero, lots of older voters may not have photo i.d. Can only see this discouraging people not encouraging peoply to vote as voter turn out is terrible as it is!!??. Another tory ploy to skew results in their favour. Should concentrate on the fraud within their ranks covid contracts, freebie holidays, jobs for mates, above 30k to redecorate/furnish flat etc etc etc etc!!?”

Hayley Ross isn’t totally sold on the idea, but she doesn’t have any major objections; “They already do this in Northern Ireland. If you don't have photo id then you can get a voters id from local council before voting. Postal votes are still allowed but think might be some restrictions there (not 100% sure). The only fraud I've heard of was by 1 person back in 2019 but they was caught so. I have no idea why they want to do this but I don't think it will happen anyway.”

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A voter carries his passport along with his poll card, as he makes his way to vote at The Vyne polling station in Knaphill, part of the Woking borough, which one of five Councils working with Cabinet Office to trial the use of ID in polling stations. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday May 3, 2018. See PA story POLITICS Election. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Another one who is against it is Caroline Mitchell Appelqvist, who thinks that it is; “not a priority- the ‘free’ council ID would have to funded by council tax payers. A new set of hurdles, hassles and bureaucracy ( new ID every time you change address??) and this will be expensive . It diverts money away from essential social services including elderly care, education, local community funds etc . This is all to support a Tory policy which restricts voting rights to favour their party- they wouldn’t be doing it unless it advantaged them.”

And, Sarah Abbott thinks there are more issues at hand than voter fraud; “Shouldn't they be focusing on ways to get more people to actually vote? There wasn't much coverage about the latest local elections (on social media anyway which most young people use) I think there should be a way to vote online, surely in this day and age it should be possible?” I think you may have a point there, Sarah.

"Let the Prime Minister and colleagues sort out their own practices which are all too evident before this which is unnecessary. It smacks of the last gasps of Trump” says Ian Smith.

Roger Jones is all for it though, saying; “Bring it on please you had to carry ID cards in the war so why not now We have show our driving licence if police ask so what's the difference. Again the PC brigade say it's wrong” but before we had a chance to respond, Eugene Solomon came to the fore with a firm rebuttal; “Why not now? Well, we're not at war or under the threat of invasion. Wartime ID cards didn't have photos on them either. Produce ID or be banned from voting is fundamentally anti-British.”

Clarrie Grundy added her thoughts on the topic, saying; “Given that photo ID is primarily a passport (cost £70) or a driving licence (again not free). It will effectively disenfranchise a huge swathe of society. But I guess that depends if society feels that’s is still important. My worry is perhaps not. Perhaps I’m a cynic.”

Anjum Ahmed isn’t a fan of the plan, saying; “Turnouts for elections are already poor this will just make it worse.”

And a comment that had more than a hint of sarcastic dystopian tones to it, Ivan Patrick says; “No problem at all! You have to prove you’re 18 to drink so the idea of using a card to prove who you are is absolutely fine. It should be free tho’.... and have a little tracker chip in it.”

Olivia Smith is another who isn’t in favour due to the wide disparity in acceptable ID, saying; “Passports cost money, driving licences require you to pass a driving test, some people have photo ID for their jobs, but not all jobs have these, even supposing everyone had a job. To get a bus pass you need to be a pensioner or have a disability. There is no generally accepted form of photo ID that everyone can get for free, so to require it as a condition of voting would disenfranchise anyone who couldn’t afford one or didn’t qualify for one.”

"This idea directly discriminates against people who can't afford to pay for a passport or who have a driver's license etc, also disabled people and the elderly and is very likely a way of the government 1) staying in power 2) bringing in compulsory ID cards. But that's what you get when you vote in a right wing party” says a very curt Jennifer Mohammed Jones.

David Home has a suggestion for how the issue can be remedied at no cost, saying; “Ni number is all you need, not getting people to have to go find photo I'd, it's a money spinner designed to put off the poorest in society from having there say. And why would tories be interested in changing the voting system when it seems they can do no wrong when it comes to winning elections unless they fear something is going to change in the future like! A one party state”

Frequent commentator Paul Metcalf echoes the views of many who actually commented when he said; “Just another plan to restrict voting, I mean, why bother having voting at all under our glorious dictatorship?”

Sadly we can’t include every comment or response here, but you can check out what our readers’ have said on Facebook here and on Twitter here.