Mark Eastwood MP: Don't forget you need photo ID to vote
Mark Eastwood MP writes: Most of us are familiar with the process of taking our polling card to our local polling station or filling in our postal vote forms, but this year’s elections will be different – this year you will need to bring ID with you.
By now, most people should be aware of the need to bring some ID when you vote.
Your polling card will have this information printed on it, and the Electoral Commission has been running an extensive ad campaign to remind people – maybe you’ve seen the giant post-it notes on TV or posters?
These changes are about keeping our elections fair – it’s previously been more difficult to take out a library book or pick up a parcel from the post office than to vote, and it’s the norm in many countries around the world, like France, Germany, Norway, Canada, and we’ve even had it in Northern Ireland since 2003.
In the pilot schemes that were conducted in 2018 and 2019 to prepare for this process, there was very little effect on turnout.
When I’ve been out speaking to local people in my regular street surgeries, I’ve been asking about people’s plans for voting, and everyone I have spoken to has their ID ready – whether that’s a bus pass, driving licence, passport or a Voter Authority Certificate that they have received from Kirklees Council.
Government research that was conducted in 2021 showed that around 98 per cent of the population already has one of the accepted forms of ID, up from around 92 per cent in 2015.
This election is about local council issues – like fixing potholes and delivering local services, but the voter ID system will, of course, continue into the General Election, when we will choose the next government.
You may have already read that the Dewsbury Constituency will be split into three, and that I have been selected to fight the new seat of Wakefield West and Denby Dale.
I have been asked about the new boundaries quite often on the doorstep, with some people asking if the new boundaries have been mine or the government’s choice.
Constituency boundaries are reviewed on a regular basis by the Boundary Commission, who are independent and come to their decisions based on changes to population size and occasionally other local factors.
Members of Parliament are asked to comment on the changes – as are the general public – but the decision is ultimately not a political one.
Which new seat to stand in was a difficult decision for me – I am immensely proud of being the first MP for Dewsbury who is actually from the town, and it’s been a huge privilege to represent my home.
Despite the split of the constituency I will continue to represent Dewsbury until the election, and I will carry on raising issues from all parts of the current constituency.
As always, the team and I are here to help.
Please feel free to contact me via email: [email protected] or telephone 01924 939007.