Mid Sussex Lib Dems’ Robert Eggleston raises concerns over voter ID pilot scheme

Mid Sussex Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Robert Eggleston
Mid Sussex Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Robert Eggleston

Mid Sussex Lib Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Robert Eggleston has criticised the idea of people having to show their ID before they vote.

The district will be one of 11 areas across the country to take part in a voter ID pilot at next year’s council elections.

The Government says these will provide further insight into how the security of the voting process is ensured and the risk of voter fraud is reduced.

It is also hoped the pilots will show what methods of ID work best for voters.

Mr Eggleston said: “We must ensure that any full roll out of a voter ID does not lead to any limitations on an individual’s right to vote.

“No-one, least of all me wants any cheating at the ballot box so you may say that this trial doesn’t seem unreasonable as other countries, including Northern Ireland, insist upon ID before you can vote. Surely people can do the same when voting here?

“But here’s the thing, people sometimes do forget to bring polling cards with them when they come to vote and not everyone has a driving licence or a passport as back-up photo ID. Should voters be penalised if they forget their polling card or lack a photo ID? In my view, they shouldn’t.”

Tom Clark, Mid Sussex District Council’s head of regulatory service, said the council is participating in the scheme because it ‘fully supports the Government’s intention of ensuring the intergrity of voting processes across the country’.

He added: “At this stage we are in the process of drafting our communications strategy which will help us to raise widespread awareness of the pilot across Mid Sussex and of the types of identification that will be accepted at polling stations. I believe this will speed up the voting process for our electors.”

A Cabinet Office spokesman also said: “We want people to have confidence that our elections are safeguarded against any threat or perception of electoral fraud.

“People are already required to show ID to pick up a parcel from the Post Office, rent a car, or apply for benefits, and this is a common sense next step to securing the integrity of our elections.”

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