It is good to see the LGA speaking out about the challenges facing Returning Officers and electoral administrators. Their concerns around voter ID reflect ours and those of the wider electoral community.
The timescales to introduce voter ID in May 2023 are incredibly tight. The proposed timetable brings huge risks and jeopardises our members’ ability to ensure every elector can cast their vote without issue.
With less than five months to polling day across 200+ councils in England, election planning is already underway. However, final voter ID legislation and guidance, a new application system for free voter ID certificates, and a vital public awareness campaign are not due until January.
We would support a government decision to delay voter ID introduction until after May’s elections, while acknowledging this would require careful thought and mitigation. Introducing voter ID for the first time at a potential May 2024 general election would bring its own risks; and as voter ID is just one of many Elections Act 2022 changes, the whole implementation timetable would need to be reviewed.
Whenever voter ID is introduced we will continue to support electoral administrators to do the best job possible, and continue to call for the funding and resources they need.