Photo ID rules could deter voters in London mayoral election, poll warns

New polling suggests that a significant number of Londoners are unaware of the mayoral election on May 2 (PA Wire)
New polling suggests that a significant number of Londoners are unaware of the mayoral election on May 2 (PA Wire)

One in seven Londoners are unaware of new rules requiring voters to show photo ID for the mayoral election on May 2, according to a new poll.

The poll of 1,050 Londoners, conducted by Focaldata and commissioned by the campaign group HOPE Not Hate, reinforced that Sadiq Khan has a commanding lead over his Conservative rival Susan Hall as he bids for a third term.

The Labour mayor is on 45 per cent compared to 21 per cent for Ms Hall. Rob Blackie of the Liberal Democrats has 11 per cent, with the Green and Reform UK candidates trailing in single digits.

But the poll exposed potential pitfalls for the mayoral and London Assembly elections, with 14 per cent saying they did not know about the Government’s new requirement to show photo ID.

For people lacking a passport, driving licence or other valid ID such as a Freedom Pass or Oyster 60+ card, the deadline to apply for a “Voter Authority Certificate” is April 24.

Some 18 per cent do not know about the City Hall elections in five weeks’ time, the poll also found. The figure rises to 36 per cent among 18-24 year olds.

The photo ID measure has been put in place by the Government to ensure that elections are protected from “the potential for voter fraud”.

It notes that in local elections last year, which took place outside London, 99.75 per cent of people cast their vote successfully.

 (Evening Standard)
(Evening Standard)

But levels of fraud have been extremely rare in past elections, and young people’s travel passes are not valid ID, leading to accusations that the Conservatives are trying to suppress the Labour vote.

The polling comes after repeated claims from Mr Khan that hundreds of thousands of London voters could be “silenced” by the new requirements, including disabled people, younger voters and people from ethnic minorities.

In HOPE Not Hate’s poll, 12 per cent of Londoners said they were less likely to vote because of the new rules, rising to 22 per cent of 18-24 year olds and 20 per cent of Muslims.

Some 24 per cent of Londoners said that if they got to their polling station and had forgotten their photo ID, they would “forget about it and get on with [their] day”. The figure jumps to 37 per cent among 18-24 year olds.

HOPE Not Hate CEO Nick Lowles said: “Making sure that everyone has a stake in our society and feels like they have a means to be heard is vital to ensuring that we maintain a strong and vibrant democracy.

“We’re worried that with these new laws, we will continue to see people more and more disengaged and disenfranchised from politics.”

The survey found that cost of living was the most important issue in the election for 54 per cent of respondents, followed by affordable housing on 33 per cent and crime on 29 per cent.

Ms Hall has made crime and the Ultra Low Emission Zone central issues in her campaign. But only 13 per cent chose Mr Khan’s decision to expand Ulez to cover all of London as their biggest issue.

* The full list of acceptable voter ID is at