Government plans to require voters to show ID at polling stations were trialled in Bromley three years ago, producing controversial results.

The Government has argued the plans, included in the Queen’s Speech, are necessary to prevent the “inexcusable potential” for voter fraud.

More than 150 people were unable to vote in Bromley’s 2018 local elections, which required participants to bring one form of photo ID, or two forms of non-photo ID.

News Shopper: Polling station

Bromley Labour leader, Angela Wilkins, said: “A lot of people didn’t even attempt to go and vote because they knew they couldn’t because they hadn’t got the right ID.”

Of the 70,328 people who turned out, 99.78 per cent provided the correct ID – but 569 people did not.

Of those 569 people who were turned away, only 415 returned with ID, meaning that 154 people were unable to vote.

The trial was also run in Gosport, Swindon, Watford and Woking.

A total of 338 people in the five trial areas were turned away from voting because of the pilot schemes.

More people returned with ID in Bromley than in other trial areas.

In 2019, 595 cases of electoral fraud were investigated by police, with only 33 relating to impersonation at a polling station.

This amounted to just 0.000057 per cent of more than 58 million votes cast in the year.

A group of 17 civil society groups has called for the Prime Minister to drop the plans, arguing they would pull up the drawbridge for millions of voters who lack photographic ID and turn polling station workers into “de facto bouncers”.

Representatives from organisations including the Electoral Reform Society, Stonewall, Liberty, Operation Black Vote and the National Union of Students said the plans could cost £20 million per general election and 3.5 million people currently lack photographic ID.

“As the Government has often made clear, voting is safe and secure in the UK – making mandatory voter ID a solution in search of a problem,” the groups said.

“Instead, these proposals will turn polling workers into de facto bouncers – a role they do not want to have and which raises its own risks of discretion and discrimination.

“Our democracy is already deeply unequal, with millions missing from the electoral roll and with major gaps in turnout between groups.

“We need to be revitalising our democracy – not taking a sledgehammer to political engagement.

“Rather than inventing bogeymen and scare stories, ministers should focus on the real priorities facing our democracy.”

Details of acceptable forms of ID have not yet been set out but a free council-issued “local voter card” will be available, Downing Street has said.