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16 October 2019

New identity document for voters

People with hidden disabilities such as epilepsy, will not be penalized by new Government plans to introduce compulsory photo ID cards for voters before a general election.

The plans which are being drawn up to tackle fraud at the ballot box, will mean that people will have to show an approved photo ID such as a passport or driving licence, before being allowed to vote.

But the Government has promised to also introduce a new form of identity document that voters can apply for, free of charge.

Right to vote

Clare Pelham, Chief Executive at Epilepsy Society, said: “This is good and reassuring news. There are 600,000 people with epilepsy in the UK and one third of them – 200,000 – live with uncontrolled seizures which mean they are not allowed to drive. And not everyone has a passport.

“But, like everyone, people with epilepsy want to exercise their democratic right to vote and to influence who is in government. One of the strengths of the UK is our democracy and I am pleased that the Government is ensuring that it represents all voices.

“We have spoken directly with the relevant Government department and have been reassured by their commitment to inclusivity. In the 21st century it is good to see that this is now  a fundamental right, not something that merits debate. Hidden disabilities have so often been overlooked in the past.

“We are looking to meet the relevant minister shortly to represent the voices of all people with epilepsy and to ensure that the new identity document meets their needs.”

General election

Plans are for photo IDs to be compulsory for general elections in Britain and local elections in England.