Barcodes on polling cards to be trialled by three councils

At the last General Election there was a lot of talk in media circles regarding the possibility of some fraud having taken place, which could have affected the results in some constituencies. The British system of voting has changed very little since the Act of Union in 1707.

To vote in a general or local authority election a person must be 18 years of age or over on polling day, have to be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen and also must be resident at an address in the UK.

Those qualifying will be sent a polling card which has to be presented at the local area polling station, which is checked physically against a register. There are anomalies in this system, as students for example can register in with two separate addresses, home and their student accommodation meaning that they, in effect have two votes!

One of the problems seen in the current system is that no form of identification is required to cast a vote, other than the polling card. Under the proposed system, under trial at Mid Sussex, Watford and North West Leicestershire, polling cards will have a barcode on them, which will have to be scanned before voting.

Not having to present ID when voting in UK elections is one of the quaint anomalies that can be associated with the UK, it is not something which is seen in any other modern democracy, the barcoded polling card is seen as a way to address this, after all if we have to collect a parcel at a sorting office for example, ID must be presented.  As Chloe Smith the minister for the constitution pointed out, it is necessary for people to have complete confidence and assured that elections in this country are safeguarded against any threat or perception of electoral fraud.

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