Plans to bring forward a legal challenge over new mandatory voter ID rules ahead of the next general election have been announced by Good Law Project on Sunday.
This comes on the back of mounting concerns that the Government’s Elections Act 2022, which requires voters to present certain forms of photo ID, could lead to significant numbers being turned away from polling booths at this Thursday’s local elections across England.
This legislation, expected to cost the taxpayer up to £180 million over ten years, provides a list of valid Government-accepted photo IDs to vote with. However, the list has sparked significant controversy as it includes many forms of ID available to older people, such as an Older Person’s Bus Pass or 60+ Oyster Card, but disallows 18+ Oyster Cards and 16-25 railcards.
Good Law Project has been raising concerns about how these rules could disenfranchise young people and other communities.
As a possible solution, the Government recently introduced ‘Voter Authority Certificates’, but the latest figures show the scheme has had a very poor take up with around 4% of the estimated 2.1 million people who do not have valid ID applying for one.
Good Law Project has taken and will proceed from legal advice from a team led by a specialist King’s Counsel to monitor the effects and impacts of the voter ID rules on the upcoming local elections and bring a case against the Government to challenge these rules before the general election.
Executive Director of Good Law Project, Jo Maugham KC, said, “The voter ID rules are a really bad thing to happen in a democracy – a needless act of sabotage against the universality of the franchise.
“On the evidence, they cannot be explained otherwise than as an attempt to deny those likely to vote against the Government the ability to do so. They need to be challenged, in court. And this is exactly what we plan to do.”
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