There is predictable pinko hand-wringing about one of the more sensible policies in the Tory manifesto: introducing voter ID. Katie Ghose, the middle-class metropolitan Labour-leaning doyenne of the Electoral Reform Society, says:
“This pledge risks making our democracy even more unequal. As we’ve said before, mandatory voter ID is a sledgehammer to crack a nut – there is simply not enough evidence of voter fraud in the UK to justify such a dramatic change to Britain’s democratic traditions.”
The New Statesman claims:
“it makes it harder for poorer people to vote as they are less likely to have the required identification”
A classic middle class sneer, as if “poorer people” don’t have drivers’ licence or passports too.
Anyone who has read Eric Pickles’ report on electoral fraud knows there is no intellectual basis for opposition to voter ID. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Electoral Commission have recommended the introduction of use of ID in polling stations in the UK, arguing the status quo is too trusting and open to abuse. The Pickles report found “the numbers of people [in Northern Ireland] who do not vote because they cannot produce the acceptable ID or forgot ID is extremely small”. Opponents to voter ID argue there isn’t enough proof of abuse to justify reform, though as Pickles says “the absence of evidence does not mean this practice is not taking place”. Indeed, “reforms in this area could actually increase turnout… requiring some form of identification instead may actually reassure voters that a polling card is not a necessary requirement, encouraging more to vote on the day”. Don’t listen to the sneering middle class lefties, voter ID is a sensible policy that will neutralise voter fraud and could even increase turnout…