In a letter published in the Guardian on Tuesday 6th March, Young Citizens has joined with 43 other organisations to call on the government to abandon its plans to pilot Voter ID requirements during the local elections this spring. The pilots would require voters to show ID, in an effort to reduce voter fraud. But the concern is that many voters do not have photo ID, and that as a result this could put people off voting.
Tom Franklin, CEO of Young Citizens, commented,
We are concerned about the impact of these measures on the number of young people being able to vote. Voter fraud is a very serious issue and it is right that the government tackles it, but in the UK it is relatively uncommon and our concern is that these measures are a sledge-hammer to crack a nut. We should be finding ways to make it easier for young people to participate in the democratic process – because if people start voting when they are young, they are more likely to carry on voting throughout their lives – rather than putting additional barriers in their way.
The lead signatory of the letter is the Electoral Reform Society, and other signatories include Age UK, British Youth Council, and Operation Black Vote.