Watford voter ID pilot shortlisted for innovation at LGC awards

Watford Borough Council – one of five local authorities across England which took part in the 2018 Voter ID pilots - has been shortlisted in the Innovation Category at the LGC Awards 2019...

Published: Wednesday, 9th January 2019

Watford Borough Council – one of five local authorities across England which took part in the 2018 Voter ID pilots - has been shortlisted in the Innovation Category at the LGC Awards 2019 for the polling platform used in the last local and mayoral elections.

The Innovation Award celebrates councils which have used innovation to re-think services in order to achieve better outcomes for citizens and communities at less cost. Each poll card was security coded and scanned at the polling station to confirm the voter’s ID. The majority of Watford electors were able to securely vote with minimal difficulty, with the vast majority of residents engaging with the pilot and bringing along their poll cards.

The first pilot in May 2018 was a huge success for Watford, with voter turnout reaching record levels for the mayoral and local elections alone. 39.27% turned out to vote in the mayoral election, whilst 39.28% voted in the ward elections. On the day, only 42 people are known to have not voted because they did not have their poll card or alternative ID – this was just 0.34% of the number of people who voted at polling stations. Watford had the lightest touch version of the pilot.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said:  “I’m pleased that so many residents responded positively to the pilot last year. The process we had in our last local elections resulted in increased turnout, greater confidence in the system and there was no evidence of any negative impact on certain groups. We are particularly keen to ensure that voter ID requirements have a really positive impact on the election process.  Over the next few months we will be working closely with the community, to raise awareness of what identification is needed before voting. I’m really proud that we’ve been nominated for this prestigious award.”

The Cabinet Office and Modern Democracy worked closely with Watford Borough Council, providing expert support and scrutiny as part of the careful development of the successful pilots. The pilots are part of the government’s commitment to legislate on voter ID requirements and improve security in the elections process.

Watford is once again testing using poll cards with technology as a means of identification, while other local authorities will test other methods of ID.

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