The government has introduced new voter rules the Electoral Commission has said and people are being warned “No ID No Entry.”
There are fears that the government’s new policy could leave people disenfranchised if they do not have a valid driver’s licence or passport.
Labour has sparked concern that this is “unnecessary” and electoral reform campaigners have raised concerns the new policy will make it harder for many voters.
The Local Government Association (LGA) said that electoral staff will be “overwhelmed” on polling day as they will be tackling with “the biggest change to in-person voting in 150 years.”
People who do not have the correct identification must apply by 25 April a voter authority certificate (VAC).
— Electoral Reform Society (@electoralreform) April 9, 2023
The agency’s director of communications, Craig Westwood told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, “There will be more staff. Some polling stations, particularly larger ones where there are more people who will be registered in that area, will have greeters – people who are outside the polling station that can just make sure that people are definitely aware of the ID requirement.
“That they’d got it with them, they’ve got it out of their purse, wallet, bag, and have got it ready, just to make sure that any queues are being eased through.”
He added, “The awareness in the public has gone up from 22% to 76% over that period (since January) and that’s still with a month to go.”
Elections are taking place across England on Thursday 4 May.
Don’t forget, you’ll need photo ID to vote at a polling station.
Find out everything you need to know about your vote ⬇️ https://t.co/cLswSswGQn
— Electoral Commission (@ElectoralCommUK) April 13, 2023
The Liberal Democrats spokeswoman Helen Morgan MP said, “The moment Parliament returns on Monday, the Government must cancel the voter ID measures before too many people lose their voice in this year’s local elections.”
An LGA spokesperson said: “Councils are working around the clock to deliver the local elections and the new voter ID requirements, which is the biggest change to in-person voting in 150 years. The practical effort required to deliver this change in such a short timeframe should not be understated.
“Raising public awareness of these new requirements is crucial and we remain concerned about the potential for electoral staff to be overwhelmed with inquiries and Voter Authority Certificate applications when polling cards go out.
“Electoral administrators and returning officers also need urgent clarity and detailed guidance to implement any changes to the electoral process without risking access to the vote.”