Mark Whitehead 04 May 2018

Voters turned away from polling booths due to ID scheme

Would-be voters were turned away from polling booths for the first time in trials of controversial ID schemes designed to tackle electoral fraud.

Reports suggest some were not carrying the required documents while there was also some confusion over what evidence needed to be shown.

The scheme has been condemned by a wide range of bodies including the Electoral Reform Society which branded it a 'draconian measure which risks excluding many legitimate voters from our democracy.'

In Bromley, south-east London, the opposition Labour group said at least 13 people were turned away from one ward.

According to reports an experienced voting clerk had to turn away a man he knew personally as the would-be voter did not have the necessary documents.

Angela Wilkins, leader of the Labour group on Bromley council, said most people being turned away were reportedly from Crystal Palace, the most deprived and diverse part of the borough.

'We assume tallies are being taken about how many people are refused at each polling station, and if it turns out this is a particular problem in places like Crystal Palace it bears out some of the concerns we have raised,' she said.

However, Stuart Wilks-Heeg, an expert on electoral integrity at Manchester University, said the pilot appeared to be running smoothly at three polling stations in Woking where two people were turned away.

'Polling station staff were really well briefed and voters clearly knew about the requirements,' he said.

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