Coventry councillors in fierce debate over voter ID - The Coventry Observer

Coventry councillors in fierce debate over voter ID

Coventry Editorial 20th Jan, 2023   0

A MOTION urging the Government to either scrap or postpone voter ID at polling stations was carried at Tuesday’s Coventry City Council meeting ‑ despite staunch opposition from the city’s Conservative group.

The proposal, moved by Coun Abdul Salam Khan, asked for voter ID requirement under the 2022 Elections Act to be delayed until a prolonged national information campaign could be implemented.

At polling stations, voters will have to show photographic ID, such as a passport, driver’s licence or some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person’s bus pass.

Those without accepted forms can apply for free ID online at voter-authority-certificate.service.gov.uk/ or by completing a paper form.




Coun Khan said the ‘unnecessary’ act addressed a problem which, he claimed, did not exist.

He labelled it an ‘attack on people’s democratic rights’, expressed concerns over the cost of the changes – which could be as much as £20m per election – and said it could leave millions of legitimate voters without accepted ID forms, especially minorities, unable to cast their ballot.


“The Local Government Association said it was concerned there was insufficient time to implement this ahead of the May elections and called for the introduction of this policy to be delayed.

“The requirement has been fairly described as a cynical ploy designed by the Conservative government to discourage and disenfranchise ordinary people to take part in one of the most important aspects of our process.”

The motion’s seconder Coun Gavin Lloyd said there was ‘little to no evidence of voter fraud in Britain’ and the rule seemed to favour older voters.

Opposing the motion, Conservative Coun Peter Male said: “The debate is immaterial, it has been approved and pointless motions like this will have no impact whatsoever.

“The elections team in Coventry have already released a timetable that includes the deadline for applying for a voter authority certificate and we have all been invited to attend an all-member seminar to understand the changes.

“If the council is truly committed to ensuring greater participation in elections they would be much better engaged in rolling out an information campaign to ensure voters locally are fully aware of the new requirements.

“The government’s proposals add a further layer of protection to our electoral system that as democrats we should all welcome.”

Visit coventry.gov.uk/elections for more about the Coventry elections and Voter ID.

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