Watford Borough Council is taking part in a government-led pilot scheme for voter ID
Chloe Smith MP, the new Minister for the Constitution, visited Watford Borough Council today (Monday 22 January) to praise and thank the council for taking part in the Electoral Commission’s voter ID pilot.
In a move to pilot how best to tackle electoral fraud, voters in Watford - along with four other local authorities in England - will need to show their poll card before they can vote in the mayoral and local elections on 3 May.
The pilot comes after reports of alleged electoral fraud through voter impersonation more than doubled between 2014 and 2016, according to figures from the Electoral Commission.
Elected Mayor of Watford Borough Council, Baroness Dorothy Thornhill said:
“Watford volunteered and was selected to take part in the pilot because we run our elections so smoothly. And while we may not have a problem with electoral fraud in our town, we want to make sure that with these crucial Mayoral elections coming up, the system we’re using is completely above board.
“Please do remember to keep and bring your poll card on 3 May. The new Elected Mayor of Watford will shape our town for years to come, so have your say by using your vote. Don’t forget that you can put down a first and second choice when voting for the new Mayor.”
Managing Director and Returning Officer for the council, Manny Lewis said:
“This is an important election for Watford because people will be voting in a new directly Elected Mayor, so it’s vital that people do get out and vote. The voter ID pilot is really straightforward - before people cast their vote in Watford, they will simply need to show their poll card. In case people forget or lose these, they can show alternative ID – all the information is on the website at watford.gov.uk/voterid.”
Minister for the Constitution, Chloe Smith said:
"I'm delighted Watford has volunteered to take part in piloting the use of ID at the Mayoral and local elections in May and it's great to hear more about the council's plans.
"By taking part in this pilot, local residents are helping us test ways to safeguard against electoral fraud with the possibility of rolling out ID in polling stations at future elections.
"We already ask that people prove who they are in order to collect a parcel from the post office, rent a car, secure a mortgage, or travel abroad so it's right that we should go further by taking the same approach to protect voting rights."
The trial is likely to be the first in a series of pilots to allow the Electoral Commission and Cabinet Office to evaluate the impact of asking for ID before a decision is taken on whether or not to roll it out nationally.
Find out more about the pilot in Watford.
Register to vote by 22 April at gov.uk/register-to-vote