The local elections have marked a “dark day for British democracy”, campaigners have said as the Electoral Commission acknowledged some people were “regrettably” unable to cast their ballot as a result of the voter ID requirement.
On Thursday, voters across England took to the polls to have their say about who runs their local communities and for the first time, it has been compulsory to show photo identification when voting.
The requirement has been controversial, with critics of the move arguing it would deter young people and ethnic minorities from voting.
Shortly after the polls closed, a spokesperson for the Commission said “our initial assessment is that overall, the elections were well run”.
However, the spokesperson added: “We already know from our research that the ID requirement posed a greater challenge for some groups in society, and that some people were regrettably unable to vote today as a result.”
Social media was flooded with reports of people being turned away at the ballot box.
Chris Curtis reported that a nurse, back from a long shift, was turned away from the polling station because they wouldn’t accept her NHS ID badge.
Tor Udall, meanwhile, said that she cried at the polling station after an old lady, who had struggled to walk there, was turned away.
Bylines Times reporter Josiah Mortimer said he spoke to a woman whose passport was with a solicitor and her only form of ID (a photo of it) was rejected.
And Michael Rosen said there had been multiple reports of women being turned away at the polls because the name on the ID is different from the name the polling station has got.
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