SPECIAL REPORT – Voter ID Pilots in English Local Elections 03/05/18

Voter ID 2018Democracy Volunteers deployed teams across the five councils conducting Voter ID Pilots on May 3rd. Teams of observers were deployed as follows:

  • Bromley          2 Teams of four observers
  • Gosport           1 Team of four observers
  • Swindon          2 Teams of four observers
  • Watford           1 Team of four observers
  • Woking           2 Teams of two observers

The number of polling stations to visit differed dramatically between the council areas and this explains the differences in deployed team size. As such the number of polling stations observed across the five councils was:

  • Bromley          63 Polling stations out of a possible 185        (34%)
  • Gosport           27 Polling stations out of a possible 44          (61%)
  • Swindon          72 Polling stations out of a possible 102        (70%)
  • Watford           47 Polling stations out of a possible 58            (81%)
  • Woking           34 Polling stations out of a possible 43          (79%)

This meant the 29 observers visited 56% of the polling stations across the five council areas.

As well as observers from the United Kingdom (15), teams that covered these councils included election experts and experienced observers from Republic of Ireland (3), Russia (3), Germany (2), Canada (1), France (1), Hungary (1), Lithuania (1), Italy (1) and Poland (1). All observers were accredited by the Electoral Commission to observe the elections.

Observers attended polling stations in teams of two. This started with the opening of polls at 7am and ended at 10pm. Observations lasted no less than 30 minutes and no more than 45 minutes per polling station. On exiting the polling station, the two observers completed an online form with their immediate report of their observations at that polling station.

Provisional Findings

  • In 18% of cases, our observer team identified so-called ‘family voting’
  • Voters were unable to vote lacking the appropriate ID in 21% of polling stations.
  • This constituted 1.67% of voters being declined the right to vote
  • One possible case of personation in Bromley

The possible case of personation in Bromley was observed when an elector attended the polling station with appropriate ID (his passport) and was told that ‘he’ had already voted using another form of ID (a freedom pass). This form of ID is generally only available to those over the age of 60 – which the voter was clearly not. As such, despite attending with his passport he was unable to vote despite the ID requirements.

The observer team said they would make a note of the event and the voter was able to able to cast a tendered ballot which will, in almost all circumstances, never be counted. Voter ID did not prevent personation in this circumstance.

Voter ID Pilot Areas Special Report 2018

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