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Gosport praised for taking part in voter ID pilot

15 March 2018


Chloe Smith MP, the new Minister for the Constitution, visited Gosport today  to thank the borough council for taking part in a national trial of using ID when voting.


In a move to test how best to tackle electoral fraud, voters in Gosport - along with those in four other areas - will need to show identification at polling stations before they can vote in the local elections on 3 May.


The trial comes after reports of alleged electoral fraud through voter impersonation more than doubled nationally between 2014 and 2016, according to figures from the Electoral Commission.


Chloe Smith MP, Minister for the Constitution, said: "I'm delighted Gosport has volunteered to take part in trialling the use of ID at the local elections in May and it was great to hear more about the council's plans.


"By taking part in this trial, local residents are helping us test ways to safeguard against electoral fraud, with the possibility of rolling out ID in polling stations at future elections.


"We already ask that people prove who they are in order to collect a parcel from the post office, rent a car, secure a mortgage, or travel abroad, so it's reasonable that we should do the same by taking the same approach to protect voting rights."


The Leader of Gosport Borough Council, Cllr Mark Hook, said: "I'm pleased to say there's no evidence of voter fraud in Gosport, but we're happy to be taking part in this national trial, to test ways of making our democracy more secure. It was good to show the minister our preparations for 3 May."


On election day, Gosport voters can bring one form of specified photo ID, like a passport or driving licence. Or they can bring two forms of specified non-photo ID, like a council tax bill and a bank statement.


If they don't have acceptable ID, they can apply for an electoral identity letter to bring to the polling station instead. Or, they can apply for a postal vote.


The trial is likely to be the first in a series, to allow the Electoral Commission and Cabinet Office to evaluate the impact of asking for ID, before a decision is taken on whether or not to roll it out nationally.


To find out more about bringing ID to vote in Gosport, residents can:


To register to vote, by 17 April, residents should go to gov.uk/register-to-vote

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