Almost 500 people in Bradford were unable to vote in this month’s local elections due to new voter ID laws.
The 4 May election was the first since the Government introduced new laws that require voters to show photo ID, such as a passport or drivers’ licence, when attending the polling station.
The rules had proved controversial, with claims that they would prevent people who were entitled to vote from doing so due to not having the required documents.
Bradford Council has now revealed the numbers of people who were turned away on the day for not having ID.
Across the District 1,261 people were turned away from the polling station for not having photo ID.
Of these, 763 later returned with the correct ID, and were able to cast their vote.
However, 498 voters did not return – and so were unable to vote.
The number of voters who were turned away and did not return ranged from just two in some wards to almost 50 in others.
Some of the wards that saw the highest number of people prevented from voting were Manningham, where 48 people were turned away and did not return, Clayton and Fairweather Green (47), Heaton (40) and Toller (37).
As well as passports and drivers’ licences, other acceptable ID included elderly bus passes, but not, controversially, young people’s travel cards.
People without such ID were encouraged to apply for a Government photo ID to allow them to vote.
At the election count earlier this month Councillor David Green (Lab, Wibsey) said the true impact of the changing rules on voters might never be known. He told the Telegraph & Argus he had spoken to people who had voted all their life who didn’t this year, as they had no photo ID.
He said “People who I know normally vote said it was not worth going to the polling station.”
This week prominent Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said the new rules had “backfired” on the party.
He suggested the changes had been made by the party to boost its own election chances.
Speaking to a Conservative Conference in London, and referring to a voting rules shake up proposed by the Labour Party, he said: “Parties that try and gerrymander end up finding that their clever scheme comes back to bite them, as dare I say we found by insisting on voter ID for elections.
“We found the people who didn’t have ID were elderly and they by and large voted Conservative, so we made it hard for our own voters and we upset a system that worked perfectly well.”
Below is the full breakdown of people who were turned away from voting due to a lack of ID.
|Ward||Number of voters initially refused a ballot paper due to no ID or no approved ID||Number of voters who returned to the polling station with ID and were issued a ballot paper||Total numbers of voters who did not return to vote|
|Bolton and Undercliffe||23||17||6|
|Bowling and Barkerend||80||51||29|
|Clayton and Fairweather Green||93||46||47|
|Idle and Thackley||9||7||2|
|Thornton and Allerton||37||15||22|
|Windhill and Wrose||13||5||8|