Sunday 25 February 2024
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Nottinghamshire voters divided on new Voter ID rules for Local Elections

Some Nottinghamshire voters have criticised changes meaning they had to bring ID to polling stations to take part in Thursday’s local elections – but others said they had “no problem” with the new rules.

Hundreds of council seats are being contested across eight Nottinghamshire authorities.

Results are expected today after vote counts are done overnight on Thursday and during Friday 5 May.

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For the first time, all voters had to bring photo ID in order to take part following Government reform.

ID accepted included a passport, driving licence, some types of travel cards and government-issued documents.

The Government said the changes will stop electoral fraud, but critics say it excludes people who do not have ID from being able to vote.

The Electoral Commission said a total of 193 cases of alleged electoral fraud were investigated by the police during 2022 – but of these, only one led to a caution.

 

Many had mixed feelings about the new rules.

Peter Donaldson, 67, who lives in Arnold, raised his concerns about the new policy to staff at the polling station on Killisick Road.

Speaking after casting his vote, he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “My main concerns with it are the fact some people don’t have photo ID, to start off with.

“Secondly, why should we do this? There’s no electoral fraud in Britain and hardly any cases have ever been recorded.

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Peter Donaldson

“I feel it’s really unfair on young people who do not have the photo ID that older people have.

“For example, you can use an old person’s bus pass but you can’t use a student card.

“To be honest, it’s a simple way of stopping younger people voting, that’s what it’s about.

“It didn’t put me off voting though.”

Staff working in the Arnold polling station confirmed no voters had been turned away without ID within the first three-and-a-half hours of polls being open.

At St Mary’s Church in Nottingham, voters had mixed reactions to the voter ID rule.

But Captain Mike Pickthorne, a former marine surveyor, said he had “no problem with it”.

He said: “I used to live in the Cayman Islands and we needed it to vote there.

“People should bring ID or they could commit fraud. It might stop people from voting but they’d get over it.

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“I’ve always got ID with me anyway so it isn’t a problem.”

Fergus Carney added: “I don’t think there is actually any fraud and
I’m suspicious that the Government is doing it to secure more votes.

“It’s easier for older people to vote but younger people might not have ID.”

Daisy Twizell added: “I understand it in principle but it feels exclusionary.

“ID costs money so it does seem restricted for people.”

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Kemi Badenoch MP, Minister of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, said: “Showing photographic identification is a reasonable and proportionate way to confirm that someone is who they say they are when voting, thus stamping out the potential for voter fraud to take place and giving electors the confidence that their vote is theirs and theirs alone.”

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