Boris Johnson is poised to push through requirements for photo ID at polling stations – plans that critics warn are designed to suppress the ability of young people and disadvantaged groups to vote.
The prime minister faced immediate calls to ditch the “dangerous” proposal. The Electoral Reform Society warned: “Make no mistake – these plans will leave tens of thousands of legitimate voters voiceless.”

Campaigners accused the prime minister of taking action on an “imaginary” problem while ignoring more serious threats to British democracy, such as anonymous political ads, dodgy donations and fake news.
Meanwhile, the 15-year limit on expats voting in general elections is to be lifted, allowing UK citizens living abroad to continue casting their ballots for the rest of their lives.

Proposals for voter ID sparked howls of outrage when they were included in October’s Queen’s Speech, with Labour accusing the government of trying to rig the result of the next general election.

A trial of the scheme in local elections this year saw around 800 people turned away from polling stations.
As in October, the government has attempted to allay concerns that the poor will be priced out of voting, by confirming plans for a new free-of-charge “local electoral identity document” for those without passports or driving licences.

The move forms part of a wider reform of arrangements for voting, also including the tightening of rules around the use of postal votes, following years of allegations from Tory MPs that the system was being abused.

Campaigners will be banned from handling postal votes, and a new power will limit the number of postal votes any individual can hand in.
Voters will have to renew their registration to vote by post every three years, rather than remaining on the list indefinitely.
And individuals will be banned from acting as proxy to more than two other voters, regardless of their relationship.
People unable to get to the polling station – whether because of disability, temporary illness or being away from home – can arrange for someone else to act as their proxy to vote on their behalf. Currently, there is an exemption to the two-proxy vote limit for those casting votes on behalf of close relations.

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