“We support the Gould Principle whereby electoral law should not be changed within six months of an election that the change would impact.”
Ahead of a vote in Parliament this week on government plans to introduce voter ID for the May 2023 elections, Cllr James Jamieson, LGA Chairman, said:
“It is a fundamental part of the democratic process that elections can run smoothly and effectively where every citizen is able to exercise their right to vote. While we accept that voter ID has now been legislated for, electoral administrators and returning officers should be given the appropriate time, resource, clarity and detailed guidance to implement any changes to the electoral process without risking access to the vote.
“We are concerned that there is insufficient time to do this ahead of the May 2023 elections and for this reason are calling for the introduction of voter ID requirements to be delayed.
“We support the Gould Principle whereby electoral law should not be changed within six months of an election that the change would impact.
“The new voter ID requirements would have a number of implications for councils, such as a review of polling stations, and where necessary finding new venues in time for May’s elections.
“We also have concerns over the readiness of new IT systems, being able to properly test these and ensure staff receive training.
“In addition, new voter ID requirements will require comprehensive local awareness campaigns, which councils need to be adequately funded for to tailor awareness raising efforts with the needs of their local population.
“Therefore, it is sensible for the introduction of voter ID to be delayed until after May’s elections. In the meantime, we want to work with government to ensure elections are a ‘no fail’ service and that councils are given the right amount of time and resource to implement any changes.”
Notes to editors
The LGA supports the Gould principle whereby electoral law should not be changed within six-months of an election that the change would impact (p112).
The Government accepted this as a good principle for running elections.