Polling Guru Sir John Curtice Suggests Voter ID Could Suppress Labour Support
Voters must provide an accepted form of photographic identification if they plan to vote in person on Thursday.
New rules forcing voters to provide photographic identification could suppress Labour support, a polling expert has suggested.
Sir John Curtice said “a partisan shadow” had been cast over the policy because of the way it has been implemented by the government.
His comments came ahead of Thursday’s local elections, when compulsory voter ID will be implemented in Britain for the first time.
Curtice, who is professor of politics at Strathclyde University, pointed out that young people’s bus passes are not being accepted as a form of ID whereas travel cards for older people are.
“Given that we know younger people are rather more inclined to vote Labour these days, it does perhaps cast a little bit of a partisan shadow about the way in which it has been implemented,” he told Radio Four’s Today programme.
Voter ID list gives few options for younger voters https://t.co/MFqmuM3KEB
— Electoral Reform Society (@electoralreform) November 28, 2022
Ministers have said the new rules will bring Great Britain into line with other countries around the world where photo ID is already needed to vote.
They also point out that voter ID has been in place in Northern Ireland for 20 years.
But critics say there is no evidence of electoral identity fraud in Britain, and have accused the government of “voter suppression”.
Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael said: “It is a solution in search of a problem. We have no historic problem with voter impersonation in this country.”
Tory minister Robert Jenrick was ridiculed last week after claiming the Conservatives do not want to see new voter ID laws deter people from voting.
On Any Questions on Friday, Jenrick argued the move was about “protecting the integrity of our democracy”, and said asking to see ID was not a “very unusual thing to do”.
He added: “The truth is it was an anachronism that we didn’t have to show ID going to vote. We all show ID when we go and collect a parcel at the petrol station, we show verification for all manner of things in life.”
Jenrick continued that “it is obviously very important that we get this right because we don’t want to see anybody disenfranchised”, which prompted laughter from the audience.
Robert Jenrick on voter ID.
"We don't want to see anybody disenfranchised"
Audience - 🤣#bbcaqpic.twitter.com/HQWt9GekyT
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) April 28, 2023