Another round of voter ID pilots have been announced by the Government for next year.

Watford has again been selected by the Cabinet Office to take part in voter identification trials across England in 2019.

Eleven local authorities have been chosen to “provide further insight into how best to ensure the security of the voting process and reduce the risk of voter fraud”, according to the Cabinet office.

The trials will happen during the 2019 local elections in May.

To verify voters are who they say they are, each local authority will test one of four models of voter ID checks in their pilot: photo ID, photo and non-photo ID, traditional poll cards and poll cards with scannable barcodes.

Mid Sussex, Watford and north west Leicestershire will test using poll cards as a means of identification.

While Pendle, east Staffordshire and Woking will be asked to show photo ID before they are given their ballot papers.

Ribble Valley, Broxtowe, Derby, North Kesteven and Braintree will require voters to present either one form of photo ID or up to two forms of non-photo ID.

In addition, Peterborough and Pendle will run a separate postal vote pilot, looking at the security of postal votes.

Watford was among five areas that took part in the first ever voter ID trial in May this year, which also included Bromley, Gosport, Swindon and Woking.

Chloe Smith MP, minister for the constitution, said: “I am pleased so many local authorities came forward to participate in the 2019 pilots so we can gain a deeper understanding of how voter identification will work on a wider scale - and what works best for voters.

“We want people to have confidence that our elections are safeguarded against any threat or perception of electoral fraud.”

Director of communications and research for the Electoral Commission, Craig Westwood, said: “Our key recommendation following the 2018 voter ID pilots was that any future pilots should include a wider range of local councils, taking in a mixture of rural and large urban areas and areas with different demographic profiles.

“We are pleased to see this reflected in the proposed list of authorities for 2019.”

Elected Mayor of Watford, Peter Taylor, said: “I’m pleased that so many residents responded positively to the pilot last year.

"The process we had in our last local elections resulted in increased turnout, greater confidence in the system and there was no evidence of any negative impact on certain groups.

"We are particularly keen to ensure that voter ID requirements have a really positive impact on the election process.  

"Over the next few months we will be working closely with the community to raise awareness of what identification is needed before voting.”

Statistics given to the Watford Observer by Watford Borough Council suggest 39.27 per cent of people turned out to vote in the mayoral election, whilst 39.28 per cent voted in the ward elections.

On the day, 42 people are known to have not voted because they did not have their poll card or alternative ID – this is 0.34 per cent of the number of people who voted at polling stations, according to the council. 

See previous story here