The Express says "Tories could be saved in next election by 5 million voters being turned away"

25 Apr 2024
Express 11 April

That’s an extraordinary headline in the Express for 11 April 2024: that the Tories might be saved in the next General Election by “five million voters” being turned away for lack of photographic ID.

When they first announced plans to require people to produce photographic ID in order to vote, many Liberal Democrats were sceptical. There was very little evidence of an actual problem and a big concern that this would have least effect on Tory voters — and therefore tilt things in their favour.

The claim was that there was a problem before photographic voter ID came in last year because we just gave our names when we arrived to vote, so it would be possible to give someone else’s name and vote more than once.

Except that this wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Someone would be caught out if the person they were impersonating had already voted, or registered for a postal vote. It’s possible that small numbers of people could cheat the system this way, but there’s a small risk of enough people doing it to make a difference.

Information from the Electoral Commission web site makes the point. In 2019 “595 cases of alleged electoral fraud were investigated by the police. Of these, five led to a conviction and two individuals were given a police caution.” Of those, 164 of the cases investigated were in the General Election. That’s bound to be an underestimate as these are just the people who were caught, but the implication is that it’s a small number.

My worry was (and is) that photographic ID is easy for those of us with passports and driving licenses, but gets more difficult for those without these, who will tend to be people on lower incomes. It’s possible to get a “Voter Authority Certificate”, but I wonder how many of those who are already feel excluded will apply for these?

The point was rammed home for me on polling day in the Yaxley by election in March when I spoke with someone frustrated that he couldn’t vote because he didn’t have suitable ID. Liberal Democrats won, but, to his frustration, he couldn't vote for us.

I’d been thinking in terms of economic exclusion, but the poll The Express is quoting, undertaken by Survation for Best for Britain also found that many people are simply not aware of the change and would find themselves being turned away polling stations.

This matters because it looks as if the Tories have found a way to tilt things in their favour. That’s not good for democracy or for trust in elections. Introducing legislation to deal with fraud that didn’t exist is also a problem because it implies that the results of elections can’t be trusted.

Click here to see the forms of ID polling stations will accept.

If you don’t have any of these click here to get an Authority to Vote certificate

To register to vote visit




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