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New voter ID pilots named

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Twelve councils will participate in a further round of voter identification pilots at next May’s local elections.

Five pilots were held in 2018 with opinion mixed on the outcomes they produced. While the pilots avoided widespread problems on the day, the exercise was subsequently condemned by the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) as “costly and undemocratic”.

The Cabinet Office said the fresh round would provide “further insight into how best to ensure the security of the voting process and reduce the risk of voter fraud”.

Those involved are:

  • Pendle, East Staffordshire and Woking BCs: voters to show photo ID.
  • Ribble Valley BC, Broxtowe BC, Derby City Council, North Kesteven DC and Braintree DC: voters to show one form of photo ID or up to two forms of non-photo ID.
  • Mid Sussex DC, Watford BC and North West Leicestershire DC: poll cards.
  • Pendle and Peterborough City Council will additionally run postal vote pilots, with photo ID required at the latter for proxy voters.

Pendle’s corporate director Philip Mousdale said participation in the pilot meant “we can tackle concerns we have in Pendle around fraudulent behaviour in relation to postal voting”.

But ERS chief executive Darren Hughes said: “Not content with disenfranchising hundreds of people this May, the government seem set on pushing ahead with these undemocratic voter ID plans. And once again these trials will fail to be balanced, with nine of the 11 councils Conservative-run.”

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