Forty-eight people turned away from polling booths and don't come back as Craven council tries voter ID scheme in North Yorkshire

A voter ID pilot scheme is taking place in Craven.
A voter ID pilot scheme is taking place in Craven.

A total of 48 people were turned away from polling booths and did not come back in a North Yorkshire district where voters had to bring identification to take part in the local election.

Craven District Council was one of ten areas of the country piloting the Voter ID scheme, being tested by the Government as a means to combat potential voter fraud.

Critics said the scheme would deny people their democratic right and was unnecessary because fraud is low.

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Residents in the 11 Craven wards voting in this year's elections needed to provide either one form of photo ID, or two forms of non-photo ID, one of which could be their local election poll card, at the polling station before they were able to vote.

The council's preliminary figures show that a total of 48 voters out of 7,001 across the district were turned away at the polling station and did not return, representing 0.69 per cent of those who cast their vote. The overall turnout was 37 per cent of the electorate.

Paul Shevlin, returning officer for Craven, said: “We’re pleased that the vast majority of residents brought ID to vote at the local elections. We carried out a far-reaching communications campaign, which included writing to every household explaining the voter ID pilot and informing them about the wide range of acceptable identification.

"We also offered to provide a certificate of identification to anyone who had no ID at all, but we received no applications for these.

“It’s also a good sign that the turnout was very similar to the last comparable elections in 2016, and actually increased in some wards, showing that people were not deterred from voting. This is a particularly positive result for Craven, given that the national turnout has been low this year.

“It’s unfortunate if anybody who wanted to vote was unable to do so, but we’re pleased that these numbers were very small.

“We took part in this pilot scheme because voter ID is likely to be introduced across the country in the future, and we wanted Craven to have a say on how this will work.

"We will be feeding back our experience and residents’ feelings about this scheme to the Government and they will take all this into account when developing any future proposals.”