More than 33,000 registered voters in Leicester and Leicestershire without voter ID

Tens of thousands will be denied the right to vote in the general election.

Polling station sign pointing to the left surrounding by brick and bushes
Voter ID has been controversial since it was introduced last year. Photograph: inkdrop

Over 33,500 voters across Leicester and Leicestershire have not got an accepted form of ID, meaning they will not be able to vote in the upcoming election on Thursday, 4 July.

To date, approximately 4.4 per cent of over three quarters of a million voters across the city and county will be denied the right to vote.

The proportion was far higher in some areas of Leicestershire. In the Greenhill Ward in North West Leicestershire, it was 12 per cent, whilst in Whetstone, it was 11 per cent. North Evington and Rushey Mead were both 10 per cent. Areas in Charnwood and Melton fared much better, with less than 2 per cent not having ID.

The statistics reflect the rest of the country. Exclusive data shared with the Local Democracy Reporting Service from Survation and Royal Holloway, University of London suggests that more than 1.9 million registered voters across England and Wales lack appropriate ID to vote – some 4 per cent of all those registered.

New laws requiring voter ID were introduced last year, with the local elections in England on 4 May 2023 being the first in Britain to require voters to show identification before being issued with a ballot paper.

Acceptable forms of identification are listed on the government website, these include: a UK photocard driving licence (full or provisional), a UK passport, a blue badge, and a voter authority certificate. You can find a full list on The Gazette website here.

People without an existing acceptable form of voter ID can apply online or by post for a free Voter Authority Certificate (VAC). The deadline to apply for a VAC to vote in the Parliamentary General Election on Thursday, 4 July is 5pm on Wednesday, 26 June.

Thousands of people across the country who tried to vote at a polling station in May 2023 were unable to because of the voter ID requirement, and many non-voters said they did not vote because of the ID requirement.

In its statutory report, published in September 2023, the Electoral Commission found that some people found it harder than others to show accepted voter ID. This includes people with health conditions or impairments, younger voters, people from ethnic minority communities, and the unemployed.

The Commission and others have recommended the list of allowable ID be reviewed and consideration be given to making the voter ID rules more accessible to the most affected groups. However, the government rejected calls for additional types of ID to be added to the list, saying the implementation of voter ID was “conducted efficiently with very few voters initially turned away.”

Chris Hanretty, Professor of Politics at Royal Holloway, University of London, said:

“The vast majority of registered voters have photo ID, but a small proportion don’t, and that small proportion gets bigger in some areas.

“If just a few of these voters without ID turn up to vote, we can expect lots of stories about people being disenfranchised.”
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