Voter ID trials ruled lawful by High Court judge

A scheme to make voters bring ID to polling stations has been ruled lawful by a High Court judge.

A pilot is due to take place in nine local authorities for elections in May, but campaigner Neil Coughlan said the trial would prevent people from voting.

The 64-year-old crowdfunded more than £32,500 to fight the case, claiming the pilot was not valid under the Representation of the People Act 2000.

But Mr Justice Supperstone said the scheme had been "made lawfully".

Mr Coughlan, from Witham in Essex, raised the cash through the CrowdJustice website.

The Cabinet Office confirmed the trials of the scheme in November, revealing they would take place in Pendle, Woking, Broxtowe, Derby, North Kesteven, Braintree, Mid Sussex, Watford and North West Leicestershire – two other councils pulled out.

They will see voters in those areas, who want to take part in the upcoming local elections, having to meet ID requirements – as set out by each local authority – before they can vote.

It follows earlier pilots in five English boroughs during the 2018 local elections and the government hopes it will lead to a wider roll-out.

Research from the Electoral Commission found that more than 1,000 people were turned away from polling stations because of incorrect identification last year.

The Cabinet Office said local authorities would provide ID free of charge to anyone who does not have a specified form of ID, meaning everyone who is registered would be able to vote.

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