The Supreme Court will today hear a challenge to the Government’s piloting of Voter ID requirements. In 2018 and 2019, the Government ran elections across several local authorities which required voters to produce identification papers before they could access their ballot. This is seen as the precursor to proposals for the roll out of mandatory Voter ID in the Elections Bill currently before Parliament.
The pilots were the first time ID requirements had been applied to voters in an election in mainland Britain. Evidence collected from the pilots showed hundreds of voters turned away from voting for failing to produce the correct ID. The challenge, brought by Neil Coughlan, a former councillor from Braintree, concerns the legality of that departure from longstanding constitutional practice. The case will address whether the right to vote in local government elections is a constitutional right and the proper interpretation of section 10 of the Representation of the People Act 2000.
Sarah Sackman acts for the Appellant (with Anthony Peto QC and Natasha Simonsen of Blackstone). Matthew Ryder QC and Ayesha Christie act for the Interveners, Runnymede Trust, Operation Black Vote and Voice4Change England.