Voter ID plans 'pose more problems than solutions'

Plans for voters to prove their identity before being allowed to vote are "deeply flawed", the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) has warned.
The group said the proposals were a "calculated effort by the Government to make voting harder for some citizens".
However the Government said the initiative will be easy for voters and will protect democracy.During next week's local elections in England pilot schemes will be held in five councils: Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford and Woking. People will be asked to for documents proving their identity, such as a passport or driving licence, before casting their vote.The ERS said personification fraud, when someone pretends to be someone else to vote, is "incredibly rare".It added that forcing voters to produce ID "poses more problems than solutions" as British citizens do not have compulsory identification cards.:: All you need to know about the local electionsDarren Hughes, chief executive of the ERS, said: "It's hard not to see this as a calculated effort by the Government to make voting harder for some citizens."As such it's vital we think about the risks these changes pose to a free and fair franchise in the UK. We need policy based on hard facts - not rumour and innuendo."With millions of people lacking the right photographic ID - and no government plans for a universal, free alternative - this can only mean another barrier for honest voters."The Government know this, which makes this policy all the more concerning."
:: All you need to know about the local elections
Voter ID plans 'pose more problems than solutions'

Having to present ID at polling stations will make it harder to vote for some people, the ERS says
Age UK, Stonewall, Liberty and the Salvation Army have all joined the ERS in campaigning against the plans.Their intervention comes afer a leaked letter from the Equality and Human Rights Commission warned the change could have a "disproportionate impact" on voters from minority groups."These deeply flawed trials must not be a fait accompli for the Government's plan to roll-out an ill-thought policy", Mr Hughes added."Mandatory voter ID is a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It's time for an evidence-based approach instead."Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith defended the plans in the commons on Monday, saying no one will need to purchase new identity documents to be able to vote."We already ask that people prove who they are in order to claim benefits, to rent a car or even to collect a parcel from the Post Office, so this is a proportionate and reasonable approach," she told MPs.
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"Democracy is precious and it is right to take that more robust approach to protect the integrity of the electoral process.":: Sky News will bring you live coverage of the local election results on web, mobile and TV on Thursday night and throughout Friday.
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