Concern raised over High Peak MP's advice on polling station photo ID

The Electoral Commision has raised concerns over advice issued by High Peak MP Robert Largan over the controversial new requirement for voters to show photo ID at polling stations, in force for the first time at this month’s council elections.
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As in-person voting got under way on Thursday, May 4, Mr Largan issued a final reminder to constituents about the new rules via his official email and Facebook accounts.

In it, he wrote: “Don’t forget you now need to show photo ID at the polling station. You can use any form of photo ID, current or expired. Such as driving licence (including a provisional driving licence), passport, bus pass, Blue Badge or an identity card with the ‘PASS’ hologram.”

In saying that “any form” of identification would be acceptable, Mr Largan was not entirely accurate, as the Elections Act 2022 – passed recently by the Government – specifies a list of certain photo documents which can be accepted by polling station staff at elections.

High Peak MP Robert Largan.High Peak MP Robert Largan.
High Peak MP Robert Largan.

While the examples Mr Largan cited would all qualify, the Electoral Commission took issue with the statement.

A spokesperson said: “It’s concerning that these instructions were included as it was not the correct advice for these elections. We spoke to the local party about the error, who informed us this was rectified. Voters deserve accurate information from parties about how to take part in elections.”

When the Advertiser put such criticism directly to the MP, a spokesperson said: “This is obviously just a typo in an email for which we apologise.”

Legislation on the ID requirement was introduced by the Government in a bid to to prevent voter impersonation – or electoral fraud, but critics have argued that instead the move might disenfranchise some voters who may not typically lean towards the Conservative party.

The Electoral Commission says its full report on the May elections, including the impact of the voter ID law, will not be published until September.

For full details of forms of ID likely to be accepted at the next election, go to gov.uk/how-to-vote/photo-id-youll-need.

To apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, go to gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate.