THE Conservative Party’s plan to implement a Voter ID system is damaging, especially for South Yorkshire.
Plans to introduce a voter identification system into elections would require voters to provide a photographic ID when voting.
Not only will this be damaging to democracy, with it introducing a barrier to voting, but it is an unrequired change.
Our nation prides itself on the freedom of people to choose who governs them, leading to our democracy being admired all across the globe.
By introducing barriers to democracy, the government is undermining a pillar of British culture, and South Yorkshire is where its negative effects will be felt the most.
What makes a democracy work? The simple answer is the people.
The people make the system, so the system can help the people.
The more people who participate in the system, the better the system can perform its function.
But here is where the first problem begins. Voter turnout is incredibly unstable. The instability of voter participation has the potential to weaken the main aim of democracy, its representation of public opinion.
By adding an additional barrier to voting, those undecided voters have their minds made up for them.
Take the 2019 General Election as an example. Out of the 30 lowest voter turnout constituencies in the UK, ten of them were in Yorkshire and the Humber, with five being in South Yorkshire.
With the voting system being fragile in our area, the addition of voter identification would only act as another reason to stay away from the polling station.
This would lead to turnout decreasing further, meaning that in effect, South Yorkshire would be left in the dark, once again, by a system that is simply not catering for those who need it most.
With questions looming on the necessity of voter ID, the reasons given to the public on why it should be introduced surround reducing voter fraud.
However, in a nation where 32 million votes were cast in 2019, and only four voter fraud cases faced legal action, the introduction of an ID seems unnecessary.
Secondly, the five seats in South Yorkshire with the lowest turnout are all Labour-held seats.
This appears to represent a political move by the government, not a progression of democracy.
In an area where we need progression the most, the system needs to be far more accessible.
With the proposals made by the government adding a potential barrier to change, it only seems like a clear attempt to prevent Yorkshire - and areas in a similar situation - from “unleashing its potential”, if to quote the Prime Minister.
Rather than the current government course, a proposal of a lowering of the voting age would act as a more positive change.
The Government should seriously re-evaluate their proposals.
Damaging democracy will have lasting effects on the nation, and specifically in South Yorkshire.
Turnout is low in our area, so only an increase in such would act as a positive change to the area’s political make-up.
Instead, the Government’s plans look to hinder this progression, which is an extremely discouraging idea to comprehend.
Ethan Cadman, Rotherham