One of the two bus passes issued to residents would not allow them to vote in the upcoming local elections, according to new rules published by the government.
This May, Wirral will have its first-ever all-out elections, where every council seat is decided for the next four years.
Following the Elections Act, passed by the Conservative Government last year, voters must present photo ID from a list of acceptable documents to vote in person at local and general elections. This includes passports and driving licenses, and some other forms of photo ID.
On the Electoral Commission guidance, one of the documents that can be used is an older person’s bus pass. But, in Wirral, there are currently two types of passes – one is acceptable, and the other isn’t.
This is despite similar over 60’s cards issued in Wales and Northern Ireland being acceptable.
Wirral Labour leader Janette Williamson said, “This is Wirral’s biggest-ever local election, our first all-out vote, and the system imposed on us by the Government is in complete chaos. We have residents who have no idea that they will need to show ID at polling stations, and those that do, think that they can use their bus passes, as that’s what the advice says.
“It’s only in the small print that it says it has to be a national travel pass, not a local one. So here in Wirral that’s a red pass, not a yellow one. Both are issued by Merseytravel, and people go through the same checks, but one is issued over 60 and the other after state pension age.
“This is going to mean a lot of people losing their right to vote, past the point where they can apply for free council ID or get a postal vote.
“This has come from Westminster, not from the council, but I have asked officers what we can do to help. They will be writing to everyone in Wirral with yellow bus passes to explain the issue, and offer them free ID if required, but the deadline is looming.”
The Government says it is intended to prevent voter impersonation, despite statistics showing this is a hugely rare offence.
Postal voting is not affected, and free ID can be applied for from local councils by anyone registered to vote.
Acceptable forms of photo ID: You can use any of the following accepted forms of photo ID when voting at a polling station.
- Driving licence (including provisional driving licence)
- A Blue Badge
- Older Person’s Bus Pass funded by the Government of the United Kingdom
- Disabled Person’s Bus Pass funded by the Government of the United Kingdom
- Identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
You will only need to show one form of photo ID. It needs to be the original version and not a photocopy.
If you don’t have an accepted form of photo ID, you need to register to vote before applying for a Voter Authority Certificate.