Press release

Another success for the government’s voter ID pilots: 22 July 2019

The government has published a detailed evaluation of the 2019 voter ID pilots.

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  • The government today publishes a detailed evaluation of the 2019 voter ID pilots
  • Figures and analysis show that the overwhelming majority of people were able to cast their vote
  • Increase in positive perceptions towards voter fraud safeguards in some pilot areas

New measures to strengthen the integrity of elections in Great Britain and protect voters from electoral fraud, have been deemed a success for a second year after being trialled in the 2019 local elections.

Data published by the government today suggests that people surveyed were more confident that their election was secure from voter fraud after participating in a poll that required them to show photographic or mixed ID to vote.

Perceptions that there were sufficient safeguards in place to prevent voter fraud at polling stations increased by six percentage points among those who took part in both photographic ID trials and five percentage points in the mixed ID model.

People surveyed in areas that piloted the photographic ID model were also more likely to disagree that there could be enough fraud at polling stations to influence an election result - this response increased by five percentage points after polling day.

Minister for the Constitution, Kevin Foster said:

Stealing someone’s vote is stealing their voice and any instance of this is an unacceptable crime. The very perception our current electoral system could allow voter fraud undermines its integrity.

This government has always maintained that voter ID is a reasonable and proportionate measure to prevent this and today’s data provides further, welcomed analysis to support this.

If the public have confidence in our electoral system then they are more likely to participate in it.

Similarly to the 2018 pilots, the evaluation illustrates that the overwhelming majority of people who came to polling stations were able to cast their vote (99.8% in the poll card model, 99.6% in the photographic ID model and 99.5% in the mixed ID model).

Woking piloted voter ID for a second year and found that the number of people who did not return after being asked to present ID, decreased from 2018. Their electoral service teams surmised that this could be due to local electors viewing the requirements as the ‘new normal’.

People in areas testing the poll card and mixed ID models were significantly more confident in - and remain satisfied with - the process of casting their vote after polling day.

Northern Ireland has required photographic ID at polling stations since 2003, with no adverse effect on turnout. In these pilots over nine in ten people participating in the mixed ID model showed photo ID.

100 voters across Pendle and Woking presented a form of photo ID that was produced free-of-charge by their councils - an alternative solution that was widely communicated by both the government and the local authorities.

Each participating local authority considered their election a success, in both the administration of the poll and public sentiment towards it, demonstrating that all three pilot models were workable.

As in 2018, the data - supported by interviews from electoral services teams - suggests that no particular demographic was affected by the requirement to show ID. Across each pilot model, the main reason cited for not voting was because people did not have time.

The government is committed to taking further steps to tackle other types of electoral fraud, including postal voting fraud, with policy proposals as outlined in the government’s response to the review into electoral fraud by (then) Sir Eric Pickles.

Read the evaluation of voter ID pilots here.

Published 22 July 2019