Political

Woking Council tries to force additional ID requirements on postal voters

This is worrying:

A Conservative-run council has been accused of potentially shutting vulnerable people out of May’s elections by asking people to show photo ID if they want a postal or proxy vote, even though it is not required by law.

Woking borough council in Surrey says that because voters are only “requested” to provide ID and proof of address, it is not breaching electoral rules…

On its website, Woking council says that to apply for a postal or proxy vote, “you are requested to provide” copies of photo ID such as a passport or driving licence, and proof of residence, for example a utility bill or bank statement…

Toby James, a professor of politics at the University of East Anglia and an expert on voting practices, said he had never previously seen an English council act in this way.

“Generally speaking, postal vote fraud is not really a big issue now,” he said. “The biggest issue at this election is going to be turnout, and people worrying about casting their votes. The wording of this certainly would seem to put people off. Voting really should be made as easy as possible for people.”  [The Guardian]

Here’s a screenshot from the council website, and as you can see Woking Council is essentially making it sound like these other documents are required even though they are not:

Woking Council postal vote screenshot

It’s only a couple of years since a leaked email showed the council Chief Executive offering to provide the Conservatives with information for their, in his own words, “election material”.

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4 responses to “Woking Council tries to force additional ID requirements on postal voters”

  1. This does seem to be an attempt to put voters off taking a Postal Vote, when I would have thought all efforts should be on encouraging postal voters to reduce the load on polling stations on the day. The question is how best to put pressure on Woking Borough Council to remove this wording.

  2. This is unambiguous. If you read it carefully although Woking Councils says the documents are requested, it goes on to refer to them as “the required documents”. Either it is requested or required – it can’t be both. A clear attempt to subdue and limit number of votes. They must be afraid that Conservatives will lose votes. There is no other explanation. Disgraceful.

  3. Unfortunately the Tories are doing their utmost to reduce election turnout be it at local elections or national. Why would they want to make voting as difficult as possible if they cared as much about democracy as they proclaim?

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