Are the Tories planning to rig elections?

October 30, 2019

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of InQuire Media

Image Courtesy of Sunday Post

 

The Queen’s Speech on 14 October addressed many important plans on the future of the United Kingdom. In the long list of issues that the broken government will address, a new voting style will be one.

 

The Queen announced that one of the ambitions of Johnson’s Conservative government is to implement photographic ID voting. The idea behind this madness is to prove your identity in the hope of stopping electoral fraud.

 

The new voting style has shocked many, especially the leftist opposition. The BBC reports that Jeremy Corbyn’s side claims “this is an attempt to ‘rig’ the next election, by suppressing turnout among younger and ethnic minority voters”.

 

But how true are these Labour claims?

 

The two main forms of acceptable photographic ID are driving licenses (including provisional licenses) and passports. So, the real question is who will this policy affect and what political party will this affect?

 

Statistics reported by racfoundation.org show that in 2018, 75% of people in the UK had full driving licenses, and there are no official statistics for provisional driving licenses. Thereby, if we look at full driving licenses alone, ignoring provisional driving licence and passports, a quarter of the UK’s population can’t vote if this policy is passed.

 

If we look to passports, the BBC reported in 2018 only 76% of UK citizens hold one. Further in this article, it is reported that at least 17% of UK citizens don’t hold any form of photographic ID.

 

If we assume that these statistics haven’t changed drastically in a year, the percentage of people that can’t vote under this prospective policy is anywhere between 17-25%.

 

Thereby, we can determine that this policy will stop a drastic amount of voters. But, which political party would these voters elect? Due to the last UK census being in 2011, and the implementation of data protection making data even harder to access, we can’t officially determine where the votes will be lost under the new policy.

 

However, we can work off general socio-political norms to have a potentially well-balanced idea.

 

Citizens may not have driving licenses as the individuals might not have enough money to drive;  similarly, a person might not have a passport because they can’t afford to go abroad. Thereby, with little wealth, they are seen as ‘lower-class’. Traditionally, the working classes vote for Labour, showing that Corbyn’s claims of the Conservatives rigging the elections are somewhat viable. Someone who doesn’t have a driving license may be an environmentalist, and environmentalists traditionally vote for the Green Party or Labour. Obviously, this profiling doesn’t apply for everyone, and not necessarily anyone, but these are believed social constructs that are surely based in some truth. If we take these profiles for having an inkling of truth, the Tories certainly will not suffer on this front.

  

My words may come back to bite me, but I can’t see this policy being implemented. To cut out 17-25% of the population from voting is undemocratic and will certainly divide Parliament.

 

Overall, this could be a Conservative plot to gain a majority in the Commons, or a comment that’s been misconstrued. Let us hope it doesn’t affect the government in a time when it needs unity. But, let’s face it, it will only create even more disjointedness.

 

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First published in 1965, InQuire is the University of Kent student newspaper.

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