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The voter ID debacle has denied people's right to vote. It is a crime against democracy

TORY insistence on overriding objections to their pilot of controversial plans making voters carry photographic ID as the price of casting their ballot is sinister in the extreme.

Using residents of Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford and Woking as guinea pigs has already resulted in the grave injustice of people on the electoral register being denied the right to vote.

What was the evidence put forward to justify this practice, which owes much to the gerrymandering associated with right-wing forces in the US who try to disenfranchise voters for being from black or other minority ethnic communities, for being poor or less likely to support Establishment candidates?

Hearsay and rumour were mobilised by right-wing media to imply that voter fraud is a serious problem, but this is not supported by facts.

There were just 146 allegations of voter personation — someone seeking to vote for someone else — across the whole of Britain in the period 2010-16 that took in two general elections and the EU referendum.

According to the Electoral Commission, throughout last year, which saw another general election, there was a single conviction for someone attending a polling station and claiming to be a registered voter.

Eight suspects accepted police cautions — four in relation to voter registration offences, two for personation as a postal voter, one for making a false statement on a nomination form and one over election expenses.

Four of the council areas picked for this trial run have no record whatsoever of voter personation while Woking had just one case and that was 12 years ago.

It is disingenuous to point to the situation in Northern Ireland because, as with so many questions, its history, though linked, is quite different from Britain’s.

Gerrymandering was an intrinsic part of the “Protestant parliament for a Protestant people” mentality of the undemocratic Orange statelet that was challenged in the 1960s by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.

The “vote early, vote often” call by unionist politicians was then matched by vote-maximisation techniques by their opponents, but this doesn’t provide a template for elections in Britain, as this year’s Electoral Commission report shows.

On a scale of seriousness from one to 10, the level of fraud it uncovered barely reaches zero, yet this ID trial has culminated in citizens being denied the right to vote for not having acceptable documents.

The authorities insist that each person on the electoral register has been sent five leaflets, including notes with their polling cards and notifications about recycling and bin collection.

Many people, especially the elderly and infirm, do not bother even to glance at the mountains of bumf that come through their letter box.

Not everyone picks up their polling card, knowing that simply announcing your name and address suffices to receive a ballot paper.

The numbers of voters denied their democratic right to cast a ballot is certainly in the dozens and likely to be in the hundreds.

Whatever the actual total, it is an affront to democracy that dovetails with the Tory government’s disregard for citizenship rights for the Windrush generation children that Theresa May perpetrated in 2014.

In each case, a non-existent problem is tackled by wielding a 14-pound hammer and causing mayhem as a result.

Constitution Minister Chloe Smith’s assertion that stealing someone's vote is a crime and the integrity of elections must be protected should be turned back on her and Theresa May’s government.

They have damaged polling integrity by denying citizens their rightful vote. They are guilty of a crime against democracy.

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