Councillor calls for ID checks at Rotherham polling stations

By Gareth Dennison | 03/02/2017

Councillor calls for ID checks at Rotherham polling stations
Cllr Allen Cowles.

COUNCIL opposition leader Allen Cowles called for Rotherham to be a pilot town for compulsory ID at voting stations.

The Government will run trials in 18 areas next May, requiring voters to produce a passport or driving licence to reduce voter fraud.

Cllr Cowles put forward a motion at last week’s council meeting for Rotherham to be part of the pilot.

The UKIP group leader said: “Electoral fraud measures prevent a crime which threatens the UK’s democratic system and there are few barriers to potential fraud in England.

“These proposals simply asked that photo ID or other form of identification be presented at a polling booth before you can cast your vote. 

“This happens in many other countries. What are Labour really afraid of?”

Cllr Bob Walsh, Labour, said he agreed with the principle - but could not support it while there was no proper national ID database.

Party colleague Cllr Wendy Cooksey said she suspected the move would be more about discouraging low income voters than cutting election fraud.

Leader Cllr Chris Read said there had been no reports from RMBC’s electoral services from anyone who found themselves unable to vote in the past ten years.

Cllr Emma Hoddinott said some people might miss out if they voted on their way home from work and forget their ID.

Cllr Cowles said: “This was the best response in opposition to the motion. Forgive me but in this country, polling stations are local, most people live within a very short distance of their local polling station.

“If you forget your identification, it does not require a flight to go and get it.”

The ID scheme could be rolled out nationwide following next year’s pilot.

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