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Case update 15 April 2024

Gove digs in his heels on democratic rights

The Electoral Commission says that some groups are finding it harder to vote, but the Tories are still refusing to change the rules on ID.

We’ve heard back from government lawyers on behalf of Michael Gove and he’s refusing to budge on voter ID. In his response to Alice’s claim that she, and others, are being locked out of democracy, Gove is refusing to change the forms of ID people can take to the polling station. 

The government has now provided previously unpublished evidence that shows it has reviewed the forms of identification that people need to take to the polling station. But it’s refusing to make any changes. That still leaves Alice, and people like her, unfairly barred from exercising their democratic rights. 

Gove isn’t just ignoring Alice, he’s also ignoring the Electoral Commission. After thousands of people were blocked from voting at last May’s local elections the commission reviewed the new rules and found that “disabled people”, “unemployed people”, “people from ethnic minority communities” and “younger age groups… faced greater problems” with voter ID. It said the rules were likely to have a much “larger impact” at the general election and recommended the government make changes at the “earliest opportunity”. Polling last week by Best for Britain showed that 16% of people did not know they would need ID to vote, which could lead to five million people being turned away at the ballot box.

As we have always said, this is a difficult challenge, but we are waiting to hear whether the courts will allow it to proceed to a full hearing. 

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