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Changes to voter identification, proposed by Boris Johnson is his Queen’s Speech, would create a problem “100 times bigger” than the one he’s trying to solve, according to academic Simon Usherwood.
Writing on Twitter yesterday evening, Usherwood noted that there were 336 cases of electoral fraud at the 2017 general election, and 69 other complaints.
However, Johnson’s proposed changes to prevent electoral fraud – requiring voters to present formal ID in order to vote – would result in “many more people” not voting than would be prevented from voting fraudulently, according to Usherwood.
He points to a voter ID trial that took place at this year’s local council elections, which resulted in 2,000 people being turned away from 10 wards, and 750 of those people not returning to vote.
Applied to the whole of the country, voter ID could affect 0.5% of likely voters, or roughly 30,000 people.
The Electoral Commission has noted that around 3.5 million citizens (7.5% of the electorate) do not have access to photo ID.
Getting ID costs time and money, and the LSE has reported that certain groups – particularly marginalised or vulnerable groups – are less likely to own any form of ID.
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