Local election ID trial 'preventing people from voting'

Residents in areas piloting controversial ID trials in local elections have been barred from voting, according to reports on social media.

Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford and Woking councils are piloting the scheme to help cut down voter fraud.

MPs and councillors have said people, including elderly residents, are being turned away from the polls because they do not have appropriate ID.

Angela Wilkins, leader of the Labour group in Bromley, said five people have been unable to vote at polling stations as a result of the pilot and that the scheme is also causing long delays.

She tweeted: "Just been round the C Palace polling stations. 5 people not able to vote due to #voterID pilot and several walked away because of queues @CatSmithMP @labour4bromley. So why are we doing this .@LBBromley ?"

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Labour councillor Tahir Aziz said a man was turned away from voting at a polling station on Walton Road in Woking because his form of ID, a Surrey County Council document with his picture on it, was not accepted.

Speaking to the Press Association, Mr Aziz said: "This gentleman turned up, showed his ID which included a picture that was clearly him, it was an exact resemblance, but they wouldn't accept it as it was not on the list of acceptable forms of ID.

"He was fuming. He was furious. He is a British national and he couldn't vote.

"It is having an impact on certain people being disenfranchised by this trial."

Ellie Reeves, Labour MP for Lewisham West, said that two people had been turned away from voting this morning because they did not have ID on them.

She tweeted: "Just been to vote. Was informed that two people had already turned up without ID this morning so had been unable to vote. Very worrying and backs up all the evidence that the voter ID pilot in Bromley is plain wrong."

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One elderly Bromley resident who was also turned away at the polls this morning said he was "shocked" to be denied his vote because he did not have a bank card or passport.

"This is a nonsense scheme," Peter White, 76, told The Independent.

Hazel Walters, a resident of Bromley since 1983, told the newspaper: "It's absurd. I think it will discriminate against people. Not everyone's got a passport, a driving licence and all of that. I think people will be disenfranchised," she said.

"We're trying to get homeless people to exercise their right to vote, and then at the same time we're putting all these barriers in place. The council didn't consult on this or anything.

"It's so arbitrary and unnecessary when there are real problems we've got to deal with."