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Plans to make it harder to vote

The Tories are about to test out plans for ID checks at polling stations, warns Cat Smith MP, Labour's shadow minister for voter engagement.

“It's time to get more people involved in our democracy, not less” emphasises Cat Smith.

The Tories are going to test plans for photo ID in five areas - in Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford and Woking - during the local elections in May. Voters will be asked to provide photo ID such as a driving licence before being allowed to cast a ballot.

The government's plan is to repeat the trial next year, before considering a national roll out.

But more than 40 charities and campaign groups including Age UK, the RNIB, the Salvation Army, Stonewall, Operation Black Vote and the National Union of Students are calling for the plans to be scrapped.

In a letter organised by the Electoral Reform Society, they say voter ID will "present a significant barrier to democratic engagement and risk compromising a basic human right for some of the most marginalised groups in society".

Tories say that the plans are to deter any voting fraud.

Cat Smith MP says the fraud is a "small problem" but 7.5% of voters will not have a passport or driving licence to prove their ID, and this is the real concern.

"The government cannot ignore this warning from an unprecedented coalition of charities and academics and continue with their cynical plans to introduce voter ID” she said. 7/3/2018