Queen’s Speech

20 Dec 2019

Extract from Government Statement on Queen’s Speech:-

  1. OTHER LEGISLATIVE MEASURES

Electoral integrity

“My Government will take steps to protect the integrity of democracy and the electoral system in the United Kingdom.”

LEGISLATION

The purpose of the legislation is to:

  • Tackle electoral fraud and protect our democracy, whether people are casting their votes at the polling station or elsewhere.
  • Make it easier for disabled voters to vote at polling stations.

The main benefits of the legislation would be:

  • Strengthening confidence in our democracy by addressing the potential for electoral fraud in our current system, where the only test in a polling station is for a voter to state their name and address.
  • Providing greater security for those who vote remotely by post or proxy and creating a deterrent for those who might seek to interfere in the democratic process.
  • Removing potential barriers faced by disabled voters.

The main elements of the legislation are:

  • Requiring voters to show an approved form of photographic ID in order to vote at a polling station in a UK parliamentary election in Great Britain and local election in England. Any voter who does not have an approved form of ID will be able to apply, free of charge, for a local electoral identity document.
  • Banning campaigners from handling postal votes, introducing a power to limit the number of postal votes a person may hand-in, and establishing a

requirement on those registered for a postal vote to re-apply every three years (currently registration can last indefinitely).

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  • Limiting the number of people a voter may act for as a proxy to up to two electors, regardless of their relationship.
  • Allowing a wider range of people (for example, carers who would not be entitled to vote in the election) to be able to assist disabled voters in a ‘companion’ role.
  • Requiring returning officers to provide equipment to support voters with sight loss and other disabilities who find it difficult to vote.

Territorial extent and application

  • The legislation’s provisions would extend and apply to the whole of the UK for UK parliamentary elections, which is a reserved matter, though the requirement to show ID to vote in Northern Ireland has existed since 1985. Some provisions also apply to certain other non-devolved elections in the UK, including Assembly and local government elections in Northern Ireland, and local elections in England.