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Five areas to trial voter ID next year

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Digest: Voters in five local authority areas will need to show ID before they can vote next May in a move to tackle electoral fraud, the government has announced.

The move comes after reports of alleged electoral fraud through voter impersonation more than doubled between 2014 and 2016, according to the Electoral Commission.

Bromley LBC and Woking BC, Gosport, Watford and Slough BCs have volunteered to take part in the trial for the May 2018 local elections, which will require voters to produce ID before being issued with a ballot paper.

Tower Hamlets LBC will also run a separate postal voting pilot, looking at the security of postal votes and providing additional guidance in postal vote packs.

Evidence of fraud and corruption during the Tower Hamlets mayoral election in 2014 led to the removal of mayor Lutfur Rahman from office.

The form of identification to be used will be set by the councils, but the pilot will involve trialling both photo ID and non-photo ID to see what is most effective.

The trial is likely to be the first in a series of pilots to allow the Electoral Commission and Cabinet Office to evaluate the impact of asking for ID before a decision is taken on whether or not to roll it out nationally, the government said.

Constitution minister Chris Skidmore said: “It is harder to take out a library book or collect a parcel at a post office than it is to vote in someone’s name.

“I am very hopeful that by taking a careful evidence-based approach in these pilots we will be able to roll out ID in polling stations at future elections.”

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