Date: 07 September 2021
Traveller Movement respond to Voter ID measures in the Government’s Elections Bill
Organisations and grassroots movements across the third sector have raised their concerns about the impact of voter ID legislation on poor and minoritised voters. The Government’s own figures show that 2 million people do not possess photo ID, the Government’s proposed legislation poses a severe threat to free and fair elections in the UK and seem little more than a deliberate strategy to pursue voter suppression at a scale not seen in modern British history.
Government pilots of voter ID in 2018 and 2019 did not collect ethnicity, and ethnicity data is not recorded through the electoral process; it is impossible for the Government to know the impact of their proposals on minoritised voters.
Traveller Movement research shows that these proposals will have a particularly pronounced impact for Nomadic Travellers who live on sites where access to basic infrastructure, including postal services and the internet, is not guaranteed. However, the problems with these proposals are not merely logistical. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller people of all demographics face structural barriers which prevent full participation and civic and democratic life.
Racist and hostile rhetoric deployed by politicians – especially during local election periods – alienates the GRT community and already pushes away significant numbers of potential GRT voters.
Traveller Movement CEO Yvonne MacNamara said:
“With news reports now suggesting the cost to the public purse of this disastrous policy may top £180m, it is clearly time to hit the brakes. The Traveller Movement reiterates its call for the Government to withdraw the Elections Bill which, far from safeguarding our democratic processes, will work to actively undermine faith in the democratic system – particularly for marginalised people. There exists no compelling evidence to support the Government’s baseless claim that voter fraud exists at a scale which requires such a draconian response.
Whilst there were 6 convictions of voter fraud at the last election, it is clear that the real weak points of our democratic system are found in low levels of political literacy and political alienation – particularly amongst minority communities. We call on the Government to scrap these discriminatory plans and instead invest in political literacy programmes in schools, voter registration campaigns such as Operation Traveller Vote, and more effective engagement & consultation with disenfranchised groups to assess the root of poor turnout in these communities”
Greg Sproston, Policy & Campaigns Manager
T: +44 7481 477229
Notes to Editor
* The Traveller Movement (TM) is a national community development policy and voice charity who campaign against discrimination, promote inclusion, participation and community engagement for the Irish Traveller and Gypsy communities in Britain. TM is proud to work in partnership with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities together with service providers and policy makers across the UK to better promote social inclusion and community cohesion. Visit website here: /