Long welcomes commitment on voter ID requirements at next year’s elections

Alliance East Belfast MP Naomi Long has welcomed assurances during a debate in the House of Commons on reform of the voting system that the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland intends to bring forward proposals to resolve problems with voter identification before the elections next year.

With Assembly elections, Local Government elections and a referendum on the same day, Naomi Long was concerned that ID confusion could lead to some voters not being able to cast their vote in all three, as there are different lists of ID which are acceptable for each of the three votes. This has previously been a problem when Westminster and Local Government elections were held on the same day.

The Parliamentary Secretary from the Cabinet Office, Mark Harper responded when Naomi raised this issue during the debate to say that this would be resolved ahead of next May.

Naomi Long MP said: “I am glad that the Government is planning to resolve this problem before next year’s elections. Having two or three separate votes on the same day is enough of a challenge without any confusion over which ID is needed to enable people to vote. This is a genuine victory for common sense.

“The current system is problematic due to the fact that there are different lists of acceptable ID required to vote in different elections. I am pleased that in answering a question I posed on the issue, the Government said it plans to rectify this matter by issuing a standard list for all elections. It would be disgraceful if people’s democratic rights were denied to them because the ID they brought with them meant that they were eligible to vote but disallowed because of having the wrong ID.

“I had raised this matter with the Electoral Commission and with the Government previously and I look forward to seeing this matter addressed ahead of next May. We need to make voting as simple and clear as possible to encourage full participation and to ensure that everyone gets the chance to participate.”


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