Anyone who lives and votes in the Borough of Swindon will be required to bring their poll card as a form of identification (ID) to vote in the local elections on 3 May 2018.
Swindon is trialling the use of voter ID along with four other councils in England (Woking, Gosport, Bromley and Watford). The video below provides a narrated overview of the pilot.
The pilots are being overseen and funded by the Government and are the first in a series 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.
The purpose of the pilots is to reduce electoral fraud. Although we do not have an issue with electoral fraud in Swindon, national figures from the Electoral Commission indicate alleged electoral fraud through voter impersonation more than doubled between 2014 and 2016.
Many countries around the world have already made it a requirement to prove identity at a polling station. It is already a requirement in Northern Ireland, where ID has been requested since 1985. There have been no reports of voter impersonation there since 2003.
Registered voters will receive a letter in March 2018 explaining what they will need to do to vote in this year’s elections. The pilot does not affect postal voting.
The government’s website provides further information on the Voter ID pilots.