Just 85,698 people applied for the government’s new free voter ID before yesterday’s deadline, meaning hundreds of thousands of Brits have effectively lost the right to vote in May’s elections.
Despite a spike in the last two days for applications for the new voter authority certificate (VAC), this represents a mere 4.28 per cent of the estimated two million without recognisable photo ID, leading to calls for the voter ID requirements to be ditched.
Next week’s local elections, taking place on May 4, will be the first in England where photo ID is required at the polling station.
Not every council will be holding elections on May 4, meaning a proportion of the two million will have more time to obtain photo ID. But hundreds of thousands have now been effectively disenfranchised by the government’s new voter ID rules.
Tom Brake, director of Unlock Democracy and a former Lib Dem MP, told The Big Issue: “Today’s figures confirm what we have been warning for months – that the government’s new voter ID requirements are a clear and present danger to democracy in our country.
“The government’s much vaunted voter authority certificate scheme is an absolute failure with only around 85,000 applications. Never before will so many people be at risk of being turned away from casting their vote, either because they don’t have the right form of ID, or they simply forget to take it with them.