Voting ID Laws - Voter Suppression.
In the Queen’s Speech last May it was confirmed that the Government wishes to introduce an ‘Electoral Integrity’ Bill. Focused on requiring photo ID to vote, it’s dressed up as a common sense defence of democracy, but actually statistically not very useful given the exceptionally low likelihood of voter fraud (Last election there were only four convictions from voter fraud given the millions of people who voted). Given historical use of these acts, this is likely a cynical attempt to disenfranchise tens of thousands of poorer, working class eligible voters, who are less likely to own a passport or a driving license.
To put this bill in context, here’s a small sample of examples of what the Gov’t doesn’t view as affecting UK democracy;
- Targeted online political adverts funded by ‘anonymous’ sources (the Gov’t actually turning a blind eye to Russian interference).
- It’s own Conservative party taking large donations from Russian state linked business interests.
- Offering House Of Lords peerages for large party donations, and putting into cabinet via the peerage system MP’s who have lost/quit their seats.
- Stripping the Electoral Commission of powers to prosecute MP’s found to have improperly taken money (e.g to have a flat renovated)
Looking at the US, similar voter restriction efforts have been used by conservative groups to aggressively and systematically disenfranchise poor black and latino voters and limiting ways in which economically it’s viable to vote. The British Conservative government appears to be taking ideas from the same playbook.