Remember to bring your ID when voting in Mid Sussex District Council election

A voter attends a Burgess Hill polling station
A voter attends a Burgess Hill polling station

Everyone voting at Mid Sussex polling stations in council elections later this week will need a form of ID.

Residents will have to show their unique security-coded poll card or photo ID when they arrive to cast their votes on Thursday May 2.

This is part of a Government pilot looking at the best way to tackle possible election fraud, following Electoral Commission reports suggesting there has been a steady rise in voter impersonation since 2014.#

On polling day, if you do not have your poll card, you will be able to vote only if you have one of the following with you:

• UK or EU photo-card driving licence (full or provisional)

• Valid United Kingdom, European or Commonwealth passport

• Valid photo travel card issued by HM Government or an Oyster 60+ pass

• PASS scheme card (national proof of age standards scheme)

• Photo card parking permit issued as part of the Blue Badge scheme

• Biometric immigration document issued in the United Kingdom

• Photo Identity Card issued in the European Economic Area

• Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card

• Ministry of Defence Identity Card

Mid Sussex is one of ten areas across the country taking part in the pilot this year.

The Electoral Reform Society has raised concerns about the scheme and is calling on the government to abandon the ‘show your papers’ policy, and to instead invest in improving democratic engagement and modernising ‘dangerously outdated’ campaign rules.

Jess Garland, director of policy and research at the ERS, said: “Forcing all voters to show their papers at the polling station is a solution looking for a problem. Across the UK there were just eight allegations of ‘personation’ last year – the type of fraud voter ID is supposed to target. It is time for the government to listen to the evidence.

“As the Electoral Commission have made clear, there is no evidence of widespread electoral fraud in the UK. Yet the government are failing to deal with the real democratic problems we face, from dangerous loopholes allowing foreign donations and interference to worryingly low turnout in council elections.

“Rather than spending up to £20m per election on making it harder to vote, we should be encouraging participation and ensuring online campaign rules are fit for the 21st century.”

She added: “The proposed changes to voter ID laws that are being trialled by the government risk further dividing our democracy. Ministers should scrap this costly policy before wasting any more time on this dangerous distraction.”