MP’s fears polling station ID plans could threaten turnout

Kirkcaldy MP Lesley Laird (Pic: George McLuskie)
Kirkcaldy MP Lesley Laird (Pic: George McLuskie)

Kirkcaldy MP Lesley Laird has voiced concerns that plans by the UK Government to force voters to show ID at polling stations could reduce turnout further.

Turnout at the last General Election in the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency, which the Labour MP represents, was 63.5 per cent – five per cent lower than the UK national average in 2017.

Following the revelation of the ID plan as part of the Queen’s speech last week to prevent voter fraud, Ms Laird highlighted that not everyone owns a form of ID.

Ms Laird said: “This is a blatant attempt by this Government to stifle democracy. Figures show nearly 11 million people would be affected.

“For many people the money to pay for either a passport or a driver’s license is quite simply something they cannot afford – far less even own a car.

“When you look at the levels of poverty in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath there will be many people who quite simply will not own a passport or a driver’s license and they will be denied their right to vote.

“This move would disproportionally stop the least well off in our society from taking part in the democratic process and simply further disenfranchises many people who already feel let down.

“Voting is something everyone of voting age should be free and able to do. It is the most basic part of our democracy.

“Voter turnout in this constituency is already lower than the UK average, poverty levels are high, and these proposed plans threaten to only make that engagement even lower.”