Shropshire Star

Revealed: The number of people turned away without voter ID at PCC elections in Shropshire

More than 300 people were turned away from polling stations in Shropshire after turning up without ID for elections earlier this month.

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The figures released by Shropshire Council this week show that 318 people in the county were initially refused a ballot paper for the police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections on May 2 – but 196 of those returned with ID and were able to vote.

A total of 122 people out of the 25,589 who attended a polling station were unable to vote due to not having appropriate identification.

Shropshire Council is reminding voters to ensure they have a correct form of voter ID ahead of the forthcoming General Election.

Many voters will already have an accepted form of photo ID such as a passport or driving licence – but anyone registered to vote can apply for a free document known as a Voter Authority Certificate via the Government website.

“Anyone voting at a polling station at the next general election, for the local elections in May 2025, and for any future by-elections must have an accepted form of photo ID – and it’s important that everyone understands what types of ID they can use, and how to apply for free ID if they need it,” said council chief executive and county returning officer Andy Begley.

“These figures show that only a small number of people were turned away from a polling station, or didn’t vote, on May 2 due to not having an accepted form of ID.

“But ideally we want everyone who visits a polling station on election day to be able to cast their vote, which is why we’re reminding people about the need for photo ID, and encouraging them to check if they have valid ID ahead of the General Election – and to apply for a free voter authority certificate if not.

“It’s also important that people register to vote, if they aren’t already, and we encourage people to register sooner rather than later.”

The PCC elections were the first time most voters across the county were required to present ID after the Boris Johnson government introduced the Elections Act in 2022.

The former Prime Minister himself was turned away from a polling station on May 2 after failing to present appropriate identification.

Human rights groups have criticised the requirements, with Liberty describing the law as “a solution in search of a problem” in the face of “vanishingly small” numbers of electoral fraud at polling stations in the UK.

Between 2010 and 2018 there were just two convictions for personation, the crime of casting a vote at a polling station while pretending to be someone else, according to independent fact checking organisation FullFact.