Mini: Voter ID

This is the first general election with a requirement for ID documentation to vote. I’m opposed to elections, so this is not a concern of mine either way. However, I used to argue against voter ID. There are other arguments though, and it’s quite an interesting subject.

My old argument was that the government does not and should not run elections, and relying on government issued documents gives them too much control. Of course, postal voting makes this argument irrelevant, but I opposed that too for the same reasons.

The safeguard on elections was always transparency. Polling stations are public, you identify yourself in public and are given a paper in public, ballot boxes are visible and collected and counted locally in public. To commit electoral fraud you have to do it in public.

I recently discussed some of this in Holland with an assortment of Europeans. Their attitude was different —they have always had official government ID used routinely for many purposes. I always sneered a bit at that; our government does not need to track us all individually.

Today though I recognise that that model is just not appropriate in an era of mass income taxation, welfare state, and mass immigration. The British govt has never tracked and identified every person. But it is unfortunately past time it did.

So on voter ID, I still don’t care, but the government’s half-arsed attempts to cobble national identity management out of birth registration, national insurance registration, driver licensing and passports do actually need to be rationalised into true national ID. I hate it.

(Originally a tweet thread, 4 July 2024)

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