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Case update 13 February 2024

Voter ID: We’re challenging the Government’s arbitrary new rules

Claudio Divizia / Shutterstock

The Government’s new rules are blocking a registered voter from exercising her democratic rights. We’re challenging these biased regulations before it’s too late.

Good Law Project has taken the first formal step in a legal challenge against the Government for failing to make a proper assessment of how its voter ID rules affect marginalised groups.

Democracy is the right to vote. And measures that – without good reason – remove or inhibit that right are its enemy.

The Government’s new rules, which require people to show certain types of photo ID before they can vote, make it more difficult to vote. For no good reason, and at enormous public expense, they deprive people of their democratic rights.

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Alice is registered to vote, but disabilities which have affected her since childhood make it impossible for her to obtain the photo ID required by the new regulations. This means she won’t be able to vote.

We’re helping Alice challenge the Government’s biased rules. And there’s no time to lose. We want the Government to extend the forms of permissible ID before this year’s General Election, where millions could be turned away.

The new voter ID rules were rolled out in 2022, supposedly to tackle voter fraud, even though there were only nine convictions for voter fraud between 2018 and 2022. In May 2023, Jacob Rees-Mogg admitted that the scheme was introduced “to try and gerrymander” elections. And a cross-party group of MPs called the policy a “poisoned cure” that “disenfranchises more electors than it protects”.

A report from the Electoral Commission following last May’s local elections found that “disabled people”, “unemployed people”, “people from ethnic minority communities” and “younger age groups… faced greater problems” with the requirements. 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”.

But the Government has refused to adopt the Commission’s recommendations, focusing instead on “the positive findings in the report”. Responding, the Head of the Electoral Commission, John Pullinger, said Ministers had “opened themselves” up to the charge that voter ID is designed to benefit the Tory party. And he went on to warn that the “very, very tight” rules that will force voters to carry ID at this year’s General Election risk disenfranchising certain groups.

This challenge is not straightforward, but the restrictions on the right to vote are too important to ignore.

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