The NPC has written to the Electoral Commission with its concerns around Voter ID, exclusion and people having their right to vote undermined or in some cases taken away altogether. You can read the letter below.
Dear Mr. McNally.
Re: Voter ID
The National Pensioners Convention is the largest campaigning organisation for older people in the UK. Our principle aims are to promote the welfare and interests of all pensioners, as a way of securing dignity, respect and financial security in retirement.
We have followed carefully the progress of the introduction of Voter ID from May this year for local elections and later for a General Election. Our submission to the consultation led to the inclusion of the older persons’ concessionary bus pass onto the list of valid identification to enable individuals to place their vote.
However, we still have members with grave concerns around exclusion and having their right to vote undermined or in some cases taken away altogether.
This is one possible example of the difficulties that older people could face. An older person living in a rural village; has no passport; no driving licence and buses no longer run through the village because the company has withdrawn them and the council cannot subsidise them, so has no bus pass.
In this scenario she can no longer vote, as is her legal right without photo ID. On enquiry, she was told to go online to get a free voting ID. She cannot afford a computer and in any case, the village has no broadband.
She was then told to use the library, but the council has closed the library due to government funding cuts and it had no computer anyway because there is no broadband in the village. This older person cannot afford a taxi to town 15 miles away.
Whilst you will tell us that this older person can have a postal vote, that is avoiding the critical question of the right for an individual to vote in person at a polling station. This will not be the only case of exclusion and not just those in the older generation. Young people and families suffer exclusion in much the same way.
We would very much like for the Commission to be more aware of those who will fall through the gaps in the system and to tell us how you will ensure that everyone who has the right to vote can do so without detriment to finances or lack of access.
Finally, our members are also concerned about how voter ID will be ‘policed’ at polling stations and what guidelines have been given to Returning Officers to protect voters from unacceptable behaviour and allow them to vote in safety.
We look forward to your reply as a matter of urgency and suggestions on access to voting in terms of the example given in this letter and to how individuals can be kept safe when voting in person.
Download the letter
Download the Postal Vote Application Form
To be eligible for a postal vote in the May local elections, you need to be registered by 17 April 2023. To get a postal vote, you must be already registered to vote.