Few people register for voter ID certificates in the West Midlands

image source, christopher furlong


Liberal Democrat MP Helen Morgan said the process to implement the scheme had been rushed.

A BBC snapshot poll suggests that the adoption of special ID certificates for voting in the May election has been low in the West Midlands.

The elections will be the first time people across the country will be asked to provide photo identification.

Those who do not have a driver’s license or passport can apply for a Voting Authority Certificate (VAC).

Politics Midlands found that only 2,000 people in the region had applied, out of 12 tips they heard from.

In January, North Shropshire Liberal Democrat MP Helen Morgan accused the government of a “rushed implementation” of the VAC scheme and called for the photo ID requirement to be suspended until a later election.

However, the local government minister, Lee Rowley, rejected his claims, saying that 98% of the electorate already had one of the 22 forms of identification.

Approved identification also includes blue disability badges, senior bus passes, Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) cards, and Ministry of Defense Form 90 identification cards.

Twenty-eight local council areas in the West Midlands are listed on the May 4 ballot papers.

The 12 in the table below have a combined population of over a million people, although not all seats on all councils will be up for election.

Higher-lying areas, such as Sandwell and Wolverhampton, are more densely populated but are also places of high levels of deprivation, where people are less likely to have some of the more traditional forms of identification.

“In the UK, 3.5 million eligible voters do not have any form of photo identification,” he added.

“Although more than three-quarters of whites have a full driver’s license, 38% of Asians and 48% of blacks do not.”

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By Tracey Higgins, BBC Black Country Political Reporter

image source, fake images


The May elections will be the first time people across the country will be asked for photo identification.

The Department of Equalization, Housing and Communities, which oversees VAC applications, has noted that 98% of people eligible to vote already have an acceptable form of identification. But that still leaves the 2% of those eligible to vote, without.

If you look at the West Midlands, we have an electorate of just over four million voters, so 2% of that is around 80,000.

Obviously, it’s worth saying that we haven’t heard from all of our councils that will have elections in May and some councils in the region will not go to the polls this year, such as Birmingham, our largest local authority, but taking all that into account, the numbers still seem pretty low.

The good news is that it’s not too late if you still need to apply.

People have until April 25 to apply and many local authorities are offering free sessions to help with them.

Craig Westwood of the Election Commission said they were aware that eligible IDs were lower in some demographic areas, particularly among the unemployed.

“An example is also those over 85, although they are much more likely to vote, they are much more likely to not have the required ID, so we have worked a lot with Age UK to reach that audience,” he said.


Craig Westwood of the Election Commission said people had until April 25 to apply for a voter identification certificate before the May election.

Previously, people could vote in elections if their name was on the voter roll, and they did not have to present photo identification to prove who they were.

Westwood said: “What we know about the election is that there is a vulnerability in the system that there is the possibility of someone showing up at a polling station and pretending to be someone else.”

“We don’t think there is a big problem with fraud, but the government is acting early to make sure that people in general can feel safe,” he said.

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