The Electoral Commission

The independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

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Electoral Commission statement on Sir Eric Pickles’ review of electoral fraud

Published: 12 Aug 2016

Commenting on the publication of the results of Sir Eric Pickles’ review of electoral fraud an Electoral Commission spokesperson said:

“The Commission takes electoral fraud extremely seriously and takes action before each set of elections to make sure the police and electoral administrators are aware what to do if they receive any allegations.

“We welcome the fact that Sir Eric Pickles has repeated so many of the Commission’s longstanding recommendations in his report, including our call for voter ID from 2014, which the UK Government must now finally respond to.”

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To see what the Electoral Commission did to help combat electoral fraud before the elections in 2016 click here and in 2015 click here

Background information

Recommendations for the introduction of photo ID at polling stations.

The Commission published its own recommendations for a system that would require voters to show photo ID at polling stations on 8 December 2015. This was fulfilling a commitment made in the Commission’s own review into electoral fraud vulnerabilities, published in January 2014 which concluded that polling station voting in Great Britain remains vulnerable to personation fraud.

The Commission’s recommendations can be viewed here.

The Commission’s 2014 report on its review of electoral fraud vulnerabilities can be viewed here

Key points from the Commission’s recommendations on a Photo ID scheme

  • The scheme would require all voters in Great Britain to show a form of photo ID at polling stations before they can be issued a ballot paper.
  • The scheme should be based on existing forms of secure photographic proof of identity, including passports, photographic driving licenses and certain public transport passes, for example.
  • The scheme would allow voters who do not hold any of the existing forms of identity to apply for a “Voter Card” which would be issued free of charge to any elector
  • Similar requirements are already in place in Northern Ireland and several other comparable democracies. Voters in Northern Ireland have been required to show photo ID at elections since 2003.
  • Voters’ confidence that elections are well-run in Northern Ireland is consistently higher than in Great Britain, and there are virtually no allegations of electoral fraud at polling stations.
  • This measure would almost entirely remove the opportunity for personation at polling stations.
  • Non-photographic ID was abandoned in Northern Ireland in 2002 because of the ease with which such documents could be falsified and the fact that they did not provide sufficient proof of identity.
  • Implementing a Voter Card scheme across Great Britain would cost between £1.8m and £10.8m per annum, depending on the method of implementation.

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For further information contact the Electoral Commission press office on press@electoralcommission.org.uk or 0207 271 0714

Out of office hours 07789 920 414

Notes to editors

  1. The Electoral Commission is a body that is directly accountable to Parliament, not the UK Government. Our aim is integrity and public confidence in the UK’s democratic process. We regulate party and election finance and set standards for well-run elections and are responsible for the conduct and regulation of referendums held under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act (2000).

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