Staff drafted in to deal with voter ID

Extra polling station “greeters” will be on hand next month to get voters up to speed on new ID rules. People will need proof of identity such as a passport or driving licence at local elections on May 4.

It has been branded “expensive” and “unnecessary” by Labour and sparked concerns individuals could lose their ballot.

Those without the correct identification need to apply for a voter authority certificate by April 25.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said the change will help make sure voting is a “high-integrity process” despite no evidence of large-scale electoral fraud in the UK.

The Local Government Association fears that staff will be “overwhelmed” – but the Electoral Commission’s Craig Westwood told Radio 4’s Today programme that much work had been done to train council staff.

He said: “There will be more staff. “Some polling stations, particularly larger ones, will have greeters – people who are outside that can just make sure that people are definitely aware of the ID requirement.

“That they’d got it with them, they’ve got it out of their purse, wallet, bag and have got it ready, just to make sure that any queues are being eased through.”

He said extra training will help “somebody from the trans/nonbinary community who is concerned about having their ID seen in public, ­somebody who’s wearing a religious head dressing that they need to take off in private to be able to prove who they are. All of those preparations have been put in place.”

Mr Westwood also said he expected a last-minute “spike” in ­applications for a voter authority certificate.

Electoral Reform Society boss Darren Hughes said “awareness is so worryingly low”.

He added: “We face creating a much bigger problem by way of solution than exists in the first place with impersonation concerns.”

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