William Eichler 25 May 2023

Voting reforms could ‘erect barriers’ for elderly, charity says

Voting reforms could ‘erect barriers’ for elderly, charity says  image
Image: 1000 Words / Shutterstock.com.

The introduction of further checks on postal and proxy voting could disenfranchise older people, an elderly persons charity has warned.

The Government yesterday announced that voters will have to reapply for postal votes more regularly and will be able to cast fewer proxy votes.

The move follows the introduction of the voter ID requirement earlier this year to tackle fraud.

The charity Age UK today warned the new checks could ‘erect additional barriers’ to older people voting.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said the reforms were 'a sledgehammer to crack a nut'.

‘Of course, we accept the need to ensure that our voting processes are secure and resistant to fraud, but this new policy, which we note is being introduced through regulations and therefore not subject to Parliamentary scrutiny, seems disproportionate,’ she said.

‘Rather than strengthening our democracy our worry is that it will weaken it, if some older people with postal votes find it too hard to submit their ID, or to re-register every three years, and simply give up.’

Of the 1,386 cases of alleged electoral fraud reported to police between 2018 and 2022, nine led to convictions and the police issued six cautions, according to the Electoral Commission.

At the recent elections an estimated one in 100 people were turned away from the polling booth.

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