UK Politics

Watchdog to review forcing voters to show ID at polling stations

Ballot boxes

The elections watchdog is to look at whether people should be forced to show ID before casting their ballot when a new voter registration system is introduced.

The government wants to bring in individual voter registration system in an effort to combat electoral fraud.

But the Commission says "more needs to be done" to make the new system safe.

The watchdog said it was "disappointed" ministers had not carried out a review of the system themselves.

The Metropolitan Police are investigating allegations of fraud in connection with voter registration in Tower Hamlets before May's Mayoral and London Assembly elections.

Under the government's voter registration plan, each member of a household would have to register individually.

At the moment, one householder supplies details of other people living at the address.

The Electoral Commission said there was a case for looking into whether people should have to provide proof of their identity at polling stations to be able to cast their ballots.

"Electoral fraud can involve serious criminal offences and has the potential to damage public confidence in our elections," said the watchdog's chair Jenny Watson.

"That's why we're pleased the government has introduced legislation to tighten up voter registration.

"But more needs to be done and we're disappointed that the government has not taken forward our recommendation to review the case for ID at polling stations. We will now carry out this review ourselves."

The watchdog announced the move as it published a report into the running of May's council and mayoral elections in England, which highlighted problems with the mayoral count in London stemming from failures in a new electronic counting system used.

It took more than 24 hours after polls closed for the final result to be announced.

"Problems encountered at the count must be addressed to prevent them occurring at future elections," Ms Watson said, adding that London election officials would be asked to review the evidence in its report.