lnkd.in/eZCPufeu PEOPLE: A BID TO RIG ELECTIONS UK, TORY VOTER ID LAWS LOOK LIKE AN ATTEMPT TO RIG OUR ELECTIONS, NOT IMPROVE THEM It’s not too late to avoid the disenfranchisement of the poor and the young before the next general election.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu EXTRACT ‘Rishi Sunak may this week have been battered and bruised by strikes and U-turns, but he has at least made it past one key milestone:
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu his 45th day in power today means he managed to stay in office longer than Liz Truss did before she announced her resignation.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Of course, beating the shortest-ever tenure for any British Prime Minister (he formally passes her record next Wednesday), is a pretty low bar for success.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu And Sunak’s party knows he lacks even Truss’s mandate from Tory party members, let alone from voters in a general election. TRUSS SPEECH TORY PARTY CONFERENCE, WHO VOTED FOR THIS? GREE
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu While he may have restored some semblance of economic credibility to the Conservative brand in the wake of Truss implosion, LIZ TRUSS AND  KWASI KWARTENG ON THE MARKETS' NAUGHTY STEP 2
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu latest opinion polls – one this week put his party 24 points behind Labour, another 27 points behind – suggest political credibility is still some way off.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu That’s why next year’s local elections are such an important test for Sunak. Unlike the polls (or even by-elections in Labour-held seats like Chester and West Lancashire),
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu next May’s vote will provide the first proper verdict on his premiership from millions of voters across England.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu The elections for district, unitary and Metropolitan councils in theory ought to be a chance for the Tories to bounce back and show some progress.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu But there will be one big change that will affect all those voting across England: a new requirement to present photo-ID at the polling station.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu NO PHOTO ID, NO VOTE.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Although there will be public information campaigns to highlight this big change, it may well be that for the very first time some voters know about it is when they are actually asked to present proof of identity before getting a ballot paper.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu The aim of the new system is to eliminate the chances of voter impersonation (an offence called “personation” in our law) or fraud, and many in the Tory party back it wholeheartedly, pointing out it has operated smoothly in Northern Ireland since 1985.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Yet the changes, enacted by the Elections Act 2022 passed last spring, have also sparked a strong backlash. Many attack the disproportionate nature of the reform, pointing out that English elections are overwhelmingly fraud-free.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Lord Woolley, director of Operation Black Vote, pointed out there had been just one conviction for this type of voter fraud in the 2019 election, out of 47 million voters.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu “It means you’ve got more chance of being struck down by lightning – 300,000 to one,” he said.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Even backers of the reforms concede that postal vote fraud is a much bigger issue than voter impersonation, and that is being dealt with already by the new legislation.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Some election officials are worried about the fast-tracked timetable for the change after Parliament only finally saw the legal guidelines last month.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Recently released Freedom of Information requests showed the independent Electoral Commission had written to ministers to warn that voter ID could not “be delivered in a way which is fully secure, accessible and workable”
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu in time for the local elections in 2023.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu The other objection is one of cost. The Government’s own impact assessment is that it could cost up to £150m over 10 years to pay for extra staff to monitor polling stations and to issue specialist voting ID cards for those who request them.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu The main concern, however, is that the sweeping changes will disenfranchise many people who lack the right photo ID, including the poorest, those in black and minority ethnic groups, and young people. SUNAK GET OUT OF OUR CIVIL SERVICE - GET OUT OF OUR PARLIAME
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Because many people lack a passport or driving licence, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has estimated that 1.7 million people on low incomes may be potentially barred from voting. LACK OF TRUST IN CONSERVATIVE POLITICIANS UK - JOHNSON SUNAK
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu I can also reveal that the very latest Census statistics last month laid bare a number of “ID blackspots”, proving some areas will be harder hit than others. SUNAK IS IN CONTEMPT OF THE PEOPLE - GET OUT OF OUR ECONOMY
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu In places like County Durham and Wrexham, about 20 per cent of people don’t have a passport, for example. In Boston and East Lindsay in Lincolnshire, the figure is 25 per cent. Ben Jennings on Rishi Sunak’s top team – cartoon
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Alex Norris, the Shadow Levelling Up Minister, tells me: “The Tories just haven’t been honest that these plans will lock millions out of voting. SUNAK GET OUT OF OUR POCKETS
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu During a cost of living crisis when people are struggling to make ends meet, it is an outrage that they would rather spend this money on disenfranchising them.” Ben Jennings Cartoons Autumn Statement 17 November 2022
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Some Conservatives dismiss worries about young people lacking the right documents, pointing out that photo ID is widely used by them to access nightclubs or late-night bars. CARNAGE At least they look happy Daily Mirror 18 November 20
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu But suspicions that younger voters, who tend to vote Labour, will lose out were fuelled when the Government relaxed the rules to extend the types of ID that will be eligible at the polling station. Sicker an poorer report reveals Britain's widening health di
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Clearly worried that older voters could be disenfranchised (the elderly are less likely to have passports or driving licences), the rules were rightly amended to allow bus passes, travel cards and Oyster 60+ cards. Deaths from treatable causes in England have risen since [Co
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Yet no similar travel cards or Oyster cards will be allowed for young people. Simple parity in such rules would go a long way to allaying fears that this entire legislation is designed to deliberately suppress Labour votes.
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu When pilot schemes were run in different councils to test out various options for reform, among the most successful for voter turnout were those that didn’t use photo ID and instead put a barcode on polling cards and required voters to turn up with them. NO ELECTRONIC TAGGING FOR REFUGEES ASYLUM-SEEKERS REFUGEES U
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Many people are already used to taking their polling card with them, so this seemed (even to some ministers at the time) the best option. SUNAK LIES PEOPLE DIE - GET OUT OF OUR ECONOMY FOOD BANKS UK
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu But hardliners in the May and Johnson governments were determined to push through photo-ID as a requirement, so that ship has sailed. BORIS JOHNSON LAME DUCK image courtesy Evening Standard cart
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu There are still obvious changes ministers could allow to improve this legislation. Brexit cartoons for The New European and Tribune image court
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Earlier this year, a cross-party group of peers led by former Tory Cabinet Minister David Willetts defeated the Government in the Lords to allow student library cards, bills and other documents as forms of ID. BREXIT BUS MYTH JOHNSON LIES PEOPLE DIE GET OUT OF OUR PARLI
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu That was reversed by the Commons, but ministers could yet reconsider. THE 'BREXIT BUS MYTH' SUNAK LIES PEOPLE DIE
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu The whole issue will come to a head on Tuesday, when the Lords will make last-ditch attempts to build in safeguards. 'BREXIT BUS MYTH' REES-MOGG LIES PEOPLE DIE
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu Although the Lib Dems have tabled a “fatal” motion that seeks to stop the legislation, the convention is that unelected peers should not block Commons wishes, particularly on electoral law. THE 'BREXIT BUS MYTH' GROVE LIES PEOPLE DIE
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu A better option is Labour’s “regret motion”, which asks for Parliament to review the legislation in the light of May’s elections. 'BREXIT BUS MYTH' RAAB LIES PEOPLE DIE GET OUT OF OUR PARLIA
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu It may be too late to improve the reforms for next year, but if enough peers join forces, there could well be change in time for the general election in 2024. #FreeTradeMyth #LossOfSovereigntyMyth #TakingBackControlMyth Britain’s post Brexit trade deals Taking back control or a
lnkd.in/eZCPufeu With marginal Westminster seats often hanging on a knife-edge of a few hundred votes, and with Sunak’s own electoral credibility looking thin, the last thing this PM needs is to be accused of trying to rig our democracy to cling onto power.

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