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UK to introduce plan to require IDs to vote in elections

Queen Elizabeth II speaks before the U.K. Parliament, May 11, 2021. (YouTube screenshot)
May 12, 2021

On Tuesday, Queen Elizabeth II, the queen of the United Kingdom, announced the U.K. government would introduce legislation to strengthen the country’s elections, confirming planned measures to mandate photo identification while voting.

In her speech announcing the Conservative Party agenda, Queen Elizabeth said, “My Government will strengthen and renew democracy and the constitution. Legislation will be introduced to ensure the integrity of elections, protect freedom of speech and restore the balance of power between the executive, legislature and the courts.”

Although Queen Elizabeth did not describe it specifically as voter identification, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a member of the legislative majority Conservative Party, first announced the planned Electoral Integrity Bill in 2019 which included a voter ID mandate for 2023, Forbes reported.

MarketWatch also reported the election integrity measure would require people to show identification to vote in U.K. elections beginning in 2023. Currently, people in most of the U.K. can vote at their local polling station by confirming their name and address. Voters in Northern Ireland are required to show a photo ID and have since 2003.

Queen Elizabeth made the announcement during her speech at the opening of the newest session of the U.K. parliament. Newsweek reported the queen’s speech is a formality as the speech is geared towards the legislative priorities of whichever party holds the majority in parliament, not a matter of her own agenda. In this case, the Conservative Party holds the majority in parliament.

Proponents of voter ID believe it will prevent people who are not eligible to vote from casting fraudulent ballots. Opponents of voter ID believe the measure would suppress voter turnout.

Similar election integrity measures have been proposed and passed in several states in the U.S. The state of Georgia saw accusations of racism after a voter ID law was passed in a Republican-led effort in March. In contrast to the predominantly Republican efforts to pass voter ID laws in the U.S., Democrats in Congress have proposed their own legislation, H.R. 1, which would restrict voter ID rules and other measures that question the legitimacy of ballots cast.

On Tuesday following the queen’s speech, former U.S. President Donald Trump praised the voter ID proposal.

“The Government of the United Kingdom is proposing that anyone who wants to vote in a British election should show photo ID to eliminate any corruption and fraud and ‘ensure the integrity of elections,'” Trump said in a post shared to his new social media-style website. “This is exactly what we should do in the United States, unlike the Democrats who want to abolish Voter ID laws with passing their horrible HR 1 Bill. All States should pass Voter ID laws along with many other fair and comprehensive election reforms, like eliminating mass mail-in voting and ballot harvesting, so we never again have an election rigged and stolen from us. The people are demanding real reform!”