Key evidence used by ministers to justify mandatory Voter ID does not exist, reveals a series of Freedom of Information requests made by the Labour Party. The revelations raise serious questions about whether ministers have misled the House over the impact the government’s plans would have on Black Asian and minority ethnic voters.
Ministers have repeatedly claimed that evidence shows mandatory voter ID has no impact on any particular demographic group. But Labour can today reveal that the Government does not hold data on possession of ID by ethnicity, throwing in to doubt ministers’ claims.
Ministers are also accused of defending their plans with evidence from the Electoral Commission which the Commission themselves have said does not exist. Pilot schemes cited by the Government in support of Voter ID plans are described by the EC as having not gathered enough evidence to judge the impact of identification requirements on voters.
Labour is renewing its call on the Government to immediately scrap their mandatory Voter ID plans that could disenfranchise huge swathes of Black Asian and minority ethnic people.
Cat Smith MP, Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement, commenting on the findings, said “We saw with the Windrush scandal how some communities struggle to provide official documentation, with the severe consequences. Yet the Government continue to plough on with Voter ID plans, turning a blind eye how this could disenfranchise Black Asian and minority ethnic people.
“The Government have stated repeatedly on record that evidence concludes Voter ID has no impact on any particular demographic group. This is simply not true, the evidence does not exist.
“Ministers must clarify these inconsistencies and commit to instructing government departments to gather data broken down by ethnicity. Whilst Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities remain invisible to public bodies, investigating the impact of Voter ID on Black Asian and minority ethnic people is impossible.”
“If these US-style voter suppression plans go ahead, we could see Black, Asian and minority ethnic people locked out of democracy. The Government must correct the record and recognise the damaging impact that mandatory Voter ID will have upon Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.”