Damning report finds that UK’s discriminatory voter ID rules discriminated

Kiran Stacey and Peter Walker writing for The Guardian

Controversial rules governing voter identification led to racial and disability discrimination at this year’s local elections in England, according to a damning report co-written by one of the former ministers responsible for introducing them.

MPs and peers on the all-party parliamentary group on democracy and the constitution will publish a report on Monday saying the rules caused more harm than they prevented when they came into force in May, and will call for changes, including the acceptance of a greater range of ID documents.

Writing for Voice Magazine back in May during the local elections, I stated that “the government’s voter ID rules are a direct attack on young people”. The selection of valid ID actively excluded many forms of photographic ID that are available to young people, even as the senior equivalents were accepted. For example, the Oyster 60+ Card was valid, the 18+ student card was not.

And this wasn’t an oversight, it was a deliberate choice. The government voted down a House of Lords amendment to include youth forms of ID.

Returning to The Guardian story:

An interim study published by the Electoral Commission earlier this year found at least 14,000 people had been denied a vote because they lacked the correct form of ID.


“A disproportionate number of electors who were not permitted to vote appeared to be non-white passing. By contrast, all of those who were observed being permitted to vote without presenting ID were white-passing.”

Again, it’s hard to view this as anything other than intended behaviour. It was truly galling just how transparent the government’s motives were in forcing through rules that the report described as a “poisoned cure” – one that harmed more of the electorate than it protected.  In the past seven years, only 3 people have been convicted of identity fraud at polling stations.

I wrote yesterday on the report that young people are less enthused about democracy than older people, this is yet another example why.

I’ll leave you with the statistic that voters aged 65 and above have an average turnout rate of 73.81%, while voters aged 18-24 have a turnout rate of only 55.74%.

Younger people are growing apathetic to democrcy

Jon Henley writing for The Guardian:

However, only 57% of respondents aged 18 to 35 felt democracy was preferable to any other form of government, against 71% of those over 56, and 42% of younger people said they were supportive of military rule, against just 20% of older respondents.

The survey spoke to young people from over 30 countries.

Many respondents believed China’s growing influence would be a force for good, with nearly twice as many respondents believing it would have a positive impact (45%) on their country as a negative one (25%).

However, people in lower-income countries such as Pakistan (76%), Ethiopia (72%), and Egypt (71%) were markedly more enthusiastic than those in higher-income democracies such as Japan (3%), Germany (14%), the UK (16%) and the US (25%).

In the West we view China as a necessary evil; an authoritarian regime that exploits its citizens, but has embedded itself into so much of the global supply chain that to cut them out is a difficult – if not impossible – proposition.

In the UK, the survey – titled Can Democracy Deliver? – found a low level of trust in national politicians (20% against the global average of 30%), and also low confidence in international institutions (26%), with only France, Germany, Japan and Russia scoring lower.

This survey is both shocking, but also totally unsurprising. Young people typically over-index as more liberal, and at least in the UK have had successive governments lurch continuously towards the right and actively attempt to curtail democratic rights.

‘Democracy’ is failing young people. This is the first generation to be worse off than its predecessors, and there seems to be no impetus to address that. Political and social apathy is a real risk, and one I fear that the more authoritarian factions are eager to exploit.