Kate writes a bi-weekly column for the Burton Mail. This column was originally featured in the 21st April print edition.
Collecting a parcel from the Post Office or picking up theatre tickets from the box office. These and many mundane tasks that we do on a daily basis without even thinking about them, require us to present ID to prove we are who we say we are.
They give us confidence, even if we are not always conscious to it, that the system is secure and that we can have certainty of protection over our details and possessions. It is right that this same protection is given to our vote.
Following the passing of the Elections Act 2022 last year, next month’s local elections in England will see the introduction of the requirement to present photographic identification to vote at polling stations. The new Act delivers on a manifesto commitment to tighten the law to prevent electoral fraud and tackle other issues such as postal voting fraud, prevent foreign interference and ensure greater transparency on digital campaigning.
Voter ID is not a new frontier, many countries around the world already have voter ID in place. Indeed, Northern Ireland has required photographic identification in all its elections since 2003, proving to be effective at tackling fraud and increasing voter confidence.
There are many forms of acceptable photo identification and research has shown that 98 per cent of the population have at least one form of these. Accepted identification includes driving licences, passports, various concessionary travel passes, CitizenCard / PASS proof of age cards, Ministry of Defence cards and Blue Badge parking permit cards.
Councils are also offering a free Voter Authority Certificate to any elector who otherwise does not have identification. You can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate any time before 5pm on Tuesday 25th April. For more information on applying for a Certificate and/or to know more about the upcoming local elections in our area, visit the East Staffordshire Borough Council website (www.eaststaffsbc.gov.uk/elections/voter-id) or call 01283 508 000.