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Legislate to ensure that our elections are the most secure in the world

Last updated: 02:13pm 17 October 2019

We will legislate to ensure that a form of identification must be presented before voting, to reform postal voting and to improve other aspects of the elections process to ensure that our elections are the most secure in the world.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.43

Our verdict

The University of Sydney’s Electoral Integrity Project monitors elections worldwide and ranks countries according to “electoral integrity”, giving a score from 0-100. Of countries in northern and western Europe, the UK sits 19th out of 21 with a score of 66. It is 20 points behind Denmark, the world leader. Only Malta and Turkey have lower ratings in the N&W Europe group. This is just one point of view, but it is a strong indication that there is room for improvement in the UK’s electoral processes. This policy promises legislation “to ensure that our elections are the most secure in the world”.

Following recommendations in a 2016 review of electoral fraud, voter IDs emerged as the government’s preferred mechanism for shoring up the integrity of the electoral process.

Voter ID pilots were run by five local authorities in the May 2018 local government elections. Additional trials were introduced in the May 2019 local elections.

Plans to make voter ID compulsory have received criticism, but the government appears committed to moving them forwards.

In October 2019, the Queen’s Speech – when the government highlights forthcoming priorities – included this statement:

“My Government will take steps to protect the integrity of democracy and the electoral system in the United Kingdom.”

The briefing notes show that voter ID tops the list of elements in the proposed electoral reform legislation.

No bill has been laid before Parliament yet. It is likely that preparatory work on the bill is only just beginning, now that it has been given a legislative slot. This policy is a promise to legislate, so it will only be ‘done’ once a law has been passed. However, the legislative process has begun, so for now this is ‘in progress’.

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