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4th May 2018

Statement from Dave Smith, Solace Spokesperson for Elections and Democratic Renewal

On 3rd May 2018, local government elections took place in 150 councils in England, along with six mayoral contests. This year, 5 councils were also trialing voter ID pilots which required voters personal identification before casting their ballot. Final turnout figures have yet to be confirmed but reports are that they have been around 30-35 percent on average.

This is a statement from Solace Spokesperson for Elections and Democratic Renewal Dave Smith:
“Solace would like to congratulate Returning Officers and election teams across the country on successfully running another set of smooth and efficient elections this year, thanks to their detailed planning and preparation of council staff throughout the year.”

With voter ID pilots taking place in 5 areas this year, there have been additional challenges, with heightened public scrutiny of local elections more widely. Solace has consistently expressed concern that ID checks risk making it difficult for electors to exercise their right to vote in a context where turnout at elections is falling and no evidence that voter fraud is widespread. We will be following up with the Cabinet Office on the findings and evaluation of the pilots to ensure that fairness and accessibility remain at the heart of our democratic system.”

“Against the backdrop of decreasing resources and growing demands every year, councils continue to provide the backbone of a fair and robust electoral process that delivers clear and confident results. A huge well done and thank you to all those individuals who have played a role.”