Voters will be asked to show ID at the ballot box as government aims to crackdown on voter fraud

 
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Ballot Boxes Being Picked Up For Delivery Across Scotland
The initiative aims to reduce voter fraud (Source: Getty)

Voters will be asked to provide proof of identification at polling stations in a government trial scheme to reduce electoral fraud.

At local elections in 2018, different local authorities in England will ask voters to provide different forms of ID including driving licences, utility bills or passports.

The initiative follows a report into electoral fraud and how to combat it published by former Cabinet minister and Conservative MP for Brentwood and Ongar, Sir Eric Pickles published in August.

Among those councils asked to participate in the scheme will be the 18 deemed most susceptible to voter fraud by the Electoral Commission, including Luton, Slough, Coventry, Woking and Bristol.

Read more: Tower Hamlets “intimidation-free zone” praised by voters following electoral fraud scandal

The report was commissioned in a response to the scandal in the East London borough of Tower Hamlets where Mayor Lutfur Rahman was stripped of his office after being found guilty of electoral fraud.

An electoral commissioner at the High Court upheld allegations against the election of Rahman that included votes being double cast or sent from false addresses.

"The government is right to give greater powers to electoral officials and the police to deal with intimidation and other unwanted behaviour," tweeted Sir Eric.

Pickles said that the ID requirements at polling stations would be "no more than would be required to pick a parcel up at the Post Office".

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone, currently suspended from the Labour party, said demanding ID to vote would unfairly affect the poorest.

"Just think of the uproar there would be if we said there’s an awful lot of shoplifting going on, we’re going to search every customer as they leave," he told the BBC's Today programme.

“It is really bad to make life more difficult for the vast majority of people just when you are dealing with a handful of dodgy council candidates.

“The real problem is the people most likely not to have a passport or a driving licence are going to be the poorest.”

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