England local elections going smoothly under new voter ID rules, say officials


Despite warnings that the introduction of new voter ID requirements might lead to disruption at polling stations across England on Thursday, by lunchtime there were few reports of problems.

In Leicester, the city council said things were “so far, running smoothly”.

“The majority of people turning up to vote appear to be aware of the new rules and have brought the right forms of photo ID,” a spokesperson said.

At a polling station in the Geeta Bhavan Hindu temple, just down the road from the University of Leicester, an election official said he was not permitted to disclose whether they had turned anyone away for not providing ID.

But the vast majority of voters leaving the station said they were well aware of the new ID requirement, having seen it advertised on leaflets and buses, and already had the ID needed.

“We knew about it well in advance, we’ve been bombarded with literature about it,” said Ian Harris, 77, who had just voted with his wife, Pat, 84.

They had both used their driving licences, although said they could also have used their bus passes or blue badge. “I think it’s a good idea,” said Pat. “I know there isn’t evidence of widespread fraud, but anything is too much.”

Ian said: “You hear about foreign governments trying to influence the outcome of elections, so you can never be too careful.”

However, one 28-year-old voter, who asked not to be named, said she thought the new requirement was “absolutely unnecessary” and could exclude some voters. “There is no evidence of voter fraud in this country and not everyone has ID,” she said.

Peter Stanyon, the chief executive of the Association of Electoral Administrators, said there had been “no reported incidents of any major concern”.

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