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Pendle Council taking part in Voter ID pilot in 2019

Published: Tuesday, 6th November 2018

Pendle Council is set to take part in the next round of the 2019 Voter ID pilots along with 10 other councils across England.

It will run the pilot in May when voters will elect borough, parish and town councillors.

Pendle’s pilot will tackle local concerns about postal and proxy voting as well as test the government’s proposed requirement of producing photo ID at polling stations.

The pilot will help show what methods of ID work best for voters and provide alternative ID to individuals who do not have the specified ID - ensuring that everyone who is registered has the opportunity to vote.

Councillor Paul White, Leader of Pendle Council, said: “We’re pleased that the Cabinet Office agreed to our proposal for a wide-ranging pilot.

“This means that we can help combat well documented concerns around fraudulent behaviour in relation to postal and proxy voting in Pendle, something I’ve been committed to doing.

“It will also introduce voters to the Government’s proposed new requirement of producing photo ID when you vote at a polling stations – something we know is controversial.

“But protecting the integrity of the ballot, which people died for, should be our number one priority.”

Philip Mousdale, Corporate Director and Returning Officer, explained that during the pilot a number of checks will be introduced to confirm the identity of who is voting.

He said: “When residents go to the polling stations to vote in person, or as a proxy, they’ll first have to show approved photo ID.

“But we’ll also be looking at alternative arrangements to certify identity where a registered voter does not have satisfactory photo ID.

“And we’ll be providing more information to postal voters and carrying out random checks to ensure that they did vote themselves and there was no fraud or undue pressure put on them.”

Minister for the Constitution, Chloe Smith MP, said: “I am pleased to see Pendle Council taking part in the 2019 pilots. Their participation will help us gain a deeper understanding of how voter ID will work on a wider scale ahead of a national rollout, and see what works best for voters.

“We want people to have confidence that our elections are safeguarded against any threat or perception of electoral fraud.

"People are already required to show ID to pick up a parcel from the Post Office, rent a car, or apply for benefits and this is a common sense next step to securing the integrity of our elections.”

Pendle Council will be working with the Cabinet Office to agree the exact format of its pilot and will provide full information to voters nearer the time.

At the last local elections in May, five local authorities took part in the first round of Voter ID pilots which are being run by the Cabinet Office.