President Trump has backed the UK government’s forthcoming Electoral Integrity Bill, which would mandate voter ID, saying the US should follow suit.
The Electoral Integrity Bill was confirmed as part of the UK government’s forthcoming agenda within Tuesday’s Queen’s Speech. The speech serves a similar purpose to the State of the Union, where the head of state addresses the government. The speech is written and prepared by the UK government, not the Queen, and sets out their legislative agenda for the next Parliamentary session.
The plans regarding what types of voter ID would be acceptable were set out in detail by Chloe Smith MP, a minister in the UK’s Cabinet Office, at the end of last month, confirming that it would not be limited to driver’s licenses or passports, but include a wide-range of identification. Any voter who did not have identification would be able to apply for a free “voter card” from their local authority. Under current legislation, British voters simply have to provide their name and address at the polling location, with no verification as to if they are that person in particular.
“This is exactly what we should do in the United States, unlike the Democrats who want to abolish Voter ID laws,” President Trump said in a statement. “All States should pass Voter ID laws along with many other fair and comprehensive election reforms, like eliminating mass mail-in voting and ballot harvesting, so we never again have an election rigged and stolen from us,” he continued, adding that “the people are demanding real reform!”
Unsurprisingly, the plans to bring in voter ID from the UK government, have been facing the same attacks as the plans have done in the USA. Many leftist commentators and organizations have claimed that the plans to bring in voter ID are simply there to “suppress” the vote of people who would vote for left-wing parties.
“The real reason these laws are passed is to suppress the vote, and that is in fact what happens,” said Caren Short, senior staff attorney with the SPLC. “There are certain communities that do not possess the required ID, or the underlying documents required to get the ID, and so it makes it harder for those folks to vote. That is what these laws are designed to do, and that is in fact what they do.”
These claims were dismissed outright by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a recent press conference as being “complete nonsense,” adding that all the government wants to do is “protect democracy, the transparency and integrity of the electoral process.”
In fact, the non-partisan Electoral Commission, which regulates British elections, has recommended that photo ID should be required for voters in the entirety of the UK since 2014. In Northern Ireland, one of the four constituent nations of the country, which has devolved powers, has required photographic voter ID at polling stations since 2003. There has been no evidence it has affected turnout, and all allegations of “personation,” where somebody has turned up and claimed to be the voter in question, are now non-existent.
A study commissioned by the Cabinet Office and released this year, found that 98% of UK adults had a form of photo ID, an unsurprising number given its necessity in modern life. The number fell slightly to 96% when asked if the photo of them was recognizable, and 91% when asked if it was also in date. According to the statement from Smith, expired photo ID would still be acceptable.