Shropshire Star

Woman turned away from Telford polling station after falling foul of new photo ID election rule

At least one voter in Telford was unable to take part in the democratic process during Thursday's elections because of the new requirement to show photo identification.

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The polling station at Dawley Christian Centre

But most electors the Shropshire Star spoke to at the Christian Centre polling station in High Street did not have a problem as they clutched passports and driving licences to show to officials.

And others who were dropping into the centre for a cup of coffee or just to meet up with friends said their answer to the new rule was simple - to vote by post, which they did well before polling day.

One of the signs new to this election

"In the polling station the staff told me that a letter had been sent and all the information was on it," said a woman who was turned away for not having a form of ID. "I didn't bring the letter."

As she rushed off to work and declined to give her name she said she probably wouldn't have time to come back later to do her democratic duty.

This set of elections is the first in which voters need to produce photo ID in order to cast their ballots, with ministers saying the move is necessary in order to prevent voter fraud.

A mum with a small child in a pushchair had come to Dawley's Christian Centre to meet friends, not to vote, having used her postal vote.

"All four of us use a postal vote, it is much easier," she said.

Rex the dog doing his bit for democracy at the Horsehay Village Golf Club polling station

An older woman who went in with her passport and also did not want to be named said she had "no problems."

A man from Doseley who gave his name as Gerry had also used a postal vote some time ago. He said: "I always vote. If you don't vote you can't complain."

He added that one of his main pain points is the lack of buses serving Doseley, which means he has to use his car to get everywhere.

"You should have some local committee to decide on bus routes."

As he popped off to the doctors' he remarked that politicians were always keen on making promises but insisted that he would carry on voting.

Sixty-eight year old Lorraine also had no issues with taking her ID.

"I want to see Dawley vibrant again," she said. "And I want to see something done to stop school parking near us.

"My husband uses a wheelchair and people are quite rude when I speak to them."

A few miles away in Beechwood Road it was a whole lot quieter for the two polling station staff in the portable building stationed on the large village green-style space. The only facility available to them was a blue topped portable lavatory as they whiled away the hours waiting for voters to come along in the dead time between breakfast and lunchtime.

A polling station in a demountable building in Beechwoad Road, Dawley

Only a couple of voters turned up to cause a frisson of excitement in the half hour or so the Shropshire Star spent outside the building after squeezing into an on-street parking slot.

A polling station in a demountable building in Beechwoad Road, Dawley

One of them, 49-year-old Catherine, who was more than happy to say that she voted Labour, also found no problems with having to carry a form of identification.

"Education is the biggest thing for me," she said. "I have a child with special educational needs.We need to keep the Accident and Emergency unit at the hospital too.

A polling station in a demountable building in Beechwoad Road, Dawley

"I am happy with the administration at the council but as far as national Government goes, an 11-year-old child could do a better job."