Fifty six people were not allowed to vote in Bath and North East Somerset’s recent local elections because they did not have ID.
The local elections on May 4th marked the first time that voters in England needed to show ID at the polling station in order to vote.
141 people in Bath and North East Somerset were initially turned away from polling stations for not having an approved form of ID, with 85 coming back with ID and being allowed to vote.
But 56 of the people who were turned away ended up not casting their votes — enough to have swung the election in High Littleton and elected a Conservative instead of a Liberal Democrat, or to have swung one of the Liberal Democrat seats in Saltford for Independent Christopher Warren.
Overall, however, 99.8% of people in the council area who voted at polling stations did have ID and were allowed to vote.
Returning officer Will Godfrey said: “The council provided information through our own channels and ran an extensive campaign to let residents know about the new photo ID requirements and we are grateful to all the local organisations who helped us to get the message out.
“Thank you to everyone who helped at the polling stations on the day and helped everything to run smoothly.”
But some people without ID may also have simply chosen not to show up to the polls.
James, who works in hospitality in Bath, said on election day that he was not going to vote as he did not have a form of ID, and had not seen about signing up for temporary ID or postal vote. He said: “I wanted to vote in person because I enjoy it. If I did know about this I would have done it by post.”
Turnout at the election dropped slightly from the last election, with 38.95% of eligible voters turning out compared to 40.76% in 2019.
The Liberal Democrats won a landslide second consecutive term, winning 41 seats on the council. Labour, who won five seats, are now the official opposition.
Five seats were won by Independent councillors, with the Conservatives and Green Party both winning three seats.
Elections to 57 of the 59 seats on the council took place on May 4th. In Paulton, which elects two seats to the council, the election will take place on Thursday, 22nd June. It was postponed following the death of Green Party candidate Tim Morgan shortly before polling day.