Edinburgh Greens want council to refuse voter ID moves planned by Boris Johnson

Edinburgh Greens are calling on the council to refuse to implement voting ID measures ‘to the fullest extent the law allows’ if the UK government tries to implement them.

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The Westminster Conservative Party plans to pass a law requiring people to show an approved form of identification in order to vote.

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It would mean people need identification to vote in a polling station, as is already the case in Northern Ireland, where photo ID is required.

Councillor Alex Staniforth says there's 'no need' for voter ID.

The proposals would affect UK elections only, but the UK government is talking to devolved governments about extending it to assembly elections in Scotland and Wales.

Now, Green Party councillor Alex Staniforth is calling on Edinburgh City Council to reject voter ID and to refuse to implement it if the UK government tries to introduce it.

A motion from councillor Staniforth, set to be debated at a full meeting of the council on Thursday May 27, reads: “Following the 2019 UK general election only four people were convicted of voter fraud and that the electoral commission states, ‘the UK has very low levels of proven electoral fraud’.

“Therefore there is no need for any further measures to combat electoral fraud, especially if those measures risk voter disenfranchisement.

“There is no form of photo ID currently available for free in the UK and that therefore demanding photo ID to vote is demanding that people pay to vote.

“Adding any further requirement to vote will disenfranchise some voters.

“Those least likely to have photo ID, and therefore most likely to be disenfranchised by a photo ID requirement, are those under 30, families on low incomes and disabled people.

“The council therefore: will reject any proposal to be involved in a pilot of photo ID for voting to the fullest extent the law allows; will refuse to administer photo ID for voting to the fullest extent the law allows; will respond to any consultation on photo ID for voting with an unequivocal statement against it.”

A suspicious ballot paper was seized after a would-be voter in the Edinburgh Northern and Leith constituency tried to vote, only to be stopped because someone had already cast a ballot in their name.

Councillor Staniforth, who represents Craigentinny and Duddingston, said: “It’s only three weeks since the Scottish election had its highest-ever turn-out, and at the same time as extending the vote further than ever before, with thousands of people able to vote for the first time having made Scotland their home from around the world.

“Meanwhile, the UK Government is going in the opposite direction: continuing to exclude 16/17 year olds and narrowing the voter base in other ways.

“However, the voter ID proposals are a deliberate attempt to go much further, by excluding people most at the margins of society, with no evidence of the fraud that it is supposed to tackle.

“There can be no more blatant attempt to gerrymander the system in support of Tory party self-interest.

“That is why I am calling on the council to do everything in its powers to reject this disgraceful assault on the right to vote.”

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