Council confirms Voter ID pilot participation in 2019

Date: 

Tuesday, 6 November, 2018

Woking Borough Council will participate in the next round of the 2019 Voter ID pilots along with 11 other local authorities across England.

The pilots will take place at the 2019 local elections, providing further insight to the Government into how best to secure the voting process.

Local authorities will help show what methods of ID work best for voters and provide free of charge, alternative forms of ID to individuals where they do not have the correct, approved identification, ensuring that everyone who is registered has the opportunity to vote.

At the last local elections in May, Woking was one of five local authorities that took part in the first round of Voter ID pilots, which are being run by the Cabinet Office.

The evaluation following the first trials showed they were a success, with the overwhelming majority of people able to cast their vote without a problem.

Returning Officer for Woking Borough Council, Ray Morgan, said: "As the guardian of the Borough’s democratic process, I'm committed to upholding the integrity of the voting system and ensuring eligible voters have the ability to cast their votes securely and without difficulty.

“Following the success of the voter identification trial during the local election in May 2018, we welcome the opportunity to once again participate during next year’s local elections.”

Minister for the Constitution, Chloe Smith MP, said: “I am pleased to see Woking taking part in the 2019 pilots. Their participation will help us gain a deeper understanding of how voter ID will work on a wider scale ahead of a national rollout, and see what works best for voters.

“We want people to have confidence that our elections are safeguarded against any threat or perception of electoral fraud.

"People are already required to show ID to pick up a parcel from the Post Office, rent a car, or apply for benefits and this is a common sense next step to securing the integrity of our elections.”

Director of Communications and Research for the Electoral Commission, Craig Westwood, said: "Our key recommendation following the 2018 voter ID pilots was that any future pilots should include a wider range of local councils, taking in a mixture of rural and large urban areas and areas with different demographic profiles.

"We are pleased to see this reflected in the proposed list of authorities for 2019, to provide more detailed evidence about the impact of voter identification on different groups of people."

"The Electoral Commission is responsible for carrying out an independent evaluation of the Cabinet Office’s pilot schemes. We will publish our findings following the May elections, in the summer of 2019."

The Cabinet Office is engaging with a broad range of charities and civil society organisations - including members of the Accessibility of Elections Working Group - to ensure that the overall policy reflects the needs of all voters in the UK.

Voters within Woking Borough will once again be asked to show photographic ID before they are given their ballot papers at polling stations. More information about the list of approved identification will be announced early next year

For more information about the Voter ID, please visit www.woking.gov.uk/VoterID