According to experts, the proposed changes to voting in Britain are risking the country’s democratic system.

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New Voting Rules Cause Controversy in Britain

The introduction of new rules requiring voters to provide official identification before voting has raised concerns about the country’s democracy. The new regulations are part of the 2022 Elections Act, and for the upcoming local elections in May, voters will need to present a valid form of photo ID such as a passport or driving licence. According to Jessica Garland, Director of Policy and Research at the Electoral Reform Society, up to 12 million voters are unaware of the changes, and there is a risk that many will be disenfranchised by accident.

Risk of Excluding Young, Poor, and Minority Voters

The new rules have raised concerns that younger, poorer, disabled, and ethnic minority voters will be excluded from voting. These groups are less likely to possess the necessary photo ID, which can be difficult to obtain due to significant financial and administrative hurdles.

According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the new law risks leaving millions of voters living on low incomes unable to vote. Several organizations have accused the Conservative government of creating electoral obstacles for socio-economic groups who are more likely to vote for the left.

Defense of the New Rules

The government has defended the new rules, saying they are necessary to prevent fraud and ensure the integrity of elections. Crime and Policing Minister Chris Philip has stated that requiring some form of ID is a reasonable request to have absolute confidence in the ballot. There are 20 forms of acceptable ID, including passports, driving licences, and various travel cards. However, there is no evidence of large-scale fraud in Britain, with only nine convictions since 2018, according to the Electoral Commission.

The introduction of the new rules has sparked controversy in Britain, with concerns raised that they could undermine confidence in the voting process and the election results. While there is an option for those without ID to apply for a free Voter Authority Certification, only a small percentage of those who need it have applied. The changes could have a significant impact on the next government, as many seats in the UK are won on narrow majorities.

SOURCE: Ref: By Joshua Askew 

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