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  • Writer's pictureEmma Thorne

Rigging the game

This week I’m going to do what every mainstream audience begs online creators not to do… I’m going to get political.

The majority of my audience are in the USA, and goodness knows you have your own problems with legislation right now. With that understandably taking centre stage, I feel recent developments in UK politics are being overlooked, so here I am to catch you up. I’m also just in the mood to vent, because frankly, I’m a little afraid.

I’m going to do a post per issue over the week (or so) so we don’t get too overwhelmed.

Today: The Elections Bill

I released a short video when this bill was first proposed and I can comfortably say now that it was a little stressed and under-researched. Let’s rectify that here. The Elections Bill is intended to, to quote the Conservative party statement, “protect the integrity of the UK’s democracy”. The main contentious part of the bill is to introduce a voter ID requirement. The problems are manifold.

A lot of my friends in Europe have argued along the lines of “we have ID requirements, what’s the problem?”. For a start, in the UK as in the USA, we do not have mandatory national ID cards like many European countries do. Research shows that more disadvantaged groups are less likely to have ID. The government’s own studies show that 2% of people don’t have any ID and 4% don’t have recognisable ID. That’s about 2.1 million people.

ID is expensive here. It’s no surprise that disadvantaged groups are most likely to be without. It costs £85 to apply for or renew a passport (a few pounds less if you do it online, unhelpful for the people without easy access to a computer or the internet). It costs £34 to apply for a provisional driver’s licence, and you have to be able to fulfil driving requirements regarding your vision (so a no-go if you have too poor eyesight). Both of these types of ID eventually run out and need to be renewed again, the cost often going up in the meantime.

For those without the money for those forms of ID, a free voter card will be necessary. Many people will be dissuaded by having to take time out of the work day to go to the local council to apply for one. Many might not be able to afford that time, or childcare costs, or will simply forget or be frustrated by the faff of it all.

Is it worth it? Absolutely not. In the last election, there were a grand total of 6 cases of voter fraud. Only 4 of those were convicted, 2 were given a police caution.

“Well Emma!” I hear you say. “0 is better than 6! If it can prevent a few cases of fraud in future, what’s the harm?”. I’d be delighted to tell you. First of all, the government estimates it will cost an extra £180,000,000 per decade. Even if one doesn’t have to pay for ID, we’ll all be paying for the scheme with our taxes. This is an unbelievable amount of money to spend on a non-existent problem. My perspective on this is pretty simple: if we don’t have an issue with voter fraud, then we don’t need to spend 180mil per decade on it. Especially in a time where much of the public are having to choose between heating and eating.

The bill lists documents that will be accepted as voter ID in elections. These happen to include Older person’s bus passes, Oyster 60+ passes… but no young persons travel cards. No student ID. Calls for equivalent ID for young people to be used have been rejected by the government. I will just highlight that the majority of Conservative voters (67% in polls taken in the 2019 election) are in the 70+ age bracket. The majority of Labour voters (the opposition party) are in the 18-24 age bracket.

It’s very difficult to see any benefit to this scheme for the voting/tax paying public. It costs a lot of money. It will repress votes. It will introduce an unnecessary extra level of bureaucracy to voting and slow the process down substantially. It’s very easy to see how beneficial this scheme will be for the Conservative party during elections. They’ve been accused of simply “rigging the game” and I am inclined to agree.

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Joseph Kernycznyj
Joseph Kernycznyj
Apr 22

On the election theme. I'm in Manchester so we have both local and mayoral elections. I've been trying to check policies and background on candidates. With very little luck, other then very basics.

I did come across a book that one candidate published, which might be worth a video. Nick buckley - feminism- myths,lies and ungratefulness. Not read it but the description on amazon sounds awful. Completely one sided against feminism.


May 16, 2022

Keep speaking Emma! Your voice is welcome and needed.

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