Post poll statement – May 2023
At the close of polls on Thursday 4 May, an Electoral Commission spokesperson said:
“These were the first set of polls to take place since the voter ID requirement came into force. Our initial assessment is that overall, the elections were well run. Across the country, votes were cast throughout the day and in line with the law. This is in large part thanks to the dedication of electoral administrators, who have worked hard to prepare for today and for the implementation of this new measure.
“Confidence in the overall picture, however, should not overlook other impacts which can only be revealed through detailed data collection and analysis over the coming weeks. We already know from our research that the ID requirement posed a greater challenge for some groups in society, and that some people were regrettably unable to vote today as a result. It will be essential to understand the extent of this impact, and the reasons behind it, before a final view can be taken on how the policy has worked in practice and what can be learnt for future elections.
“The Commission has already started this work. We are collecting data from polling stations about the numbers turned away and returning, and carrying out national public opinion research to collect data about voters’ experiences. Given the fundamental role played by electoral administrators, it will also be vital that we hear from them about their experiences of the day, as well as other participants in the elections, including candidates.”
- The Commission expects to publish its initial analysis of the implementation of voter ID in June, subject to data being available.
- In September, we will publish our full report on the May 2023 elections. This report will feature further data, including the reasons people were turned away, as well as turnout, postal voting and rejected ballots. It will also provide analysis of other aspects of the elections, including accessibility support that was provided for voters in polling stations.
- The requirement to show photo ID at polling stations was introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act and the detail set out in secondary legislation which was passed in December 2022.
- In January, the Commission launched an integrated communications campaign to raise awareness of the voter ID requirement. The campaign saw a significant increase in public awareness, rising from 22% of people being aware of the ID requirement in December to 87% in the week before the polls.
- The Commission provided guidance and support to electoral administrators to support them with preparing for and delivering the polls. This included our polling station handbook, which contains guidance on the new processes for checking voter ID.