An Independent councillor has criticised new rules that will require people to show photographic ID before they can vote at the local elections in May.
North Portslade councillor Peter Atkinson slammed the change in the law which critics have said could catch people out.
Councillor Atkinson said that he was “worried that people will not be able to vote when they arrive at the polling station or may be put off voting completely”.
He said: “The council is due to write to every voter starting with North Portslade and two other wards later this month.
“Residents will have to show one of the following forms of photo ID at the polling station to be able to vote
- UK passport
- passport issued by an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
- driving licence (including provisional licence)
- EEA identity card
- biometric residence permit
- “PASS” card
- older person’s bus pass
- disabled person’s bus pass
If people do not have any of those, they will have to apply for a “voter authority certificate” from an online webite to then be allowed to vote.
Councillor Atkinson said: “These new rules are completely unnecessary. There is no evidence of widespread electoral fraud and both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have opposed the plans.
“Even the Electoral Commission feels that this May is too soon to try the new scheme out but the government has simply not listened.
“A lot of the older residents in North Portslade tell me that they are proud to walk down to the polling station to cast their vote.
“They may struggle with these new rules though and that would be a tragedy and an insult to democracy.”
Councillor Atkinson has been warning residents about the new rules and suggested that they apply for a postal vote instead if they are worried about them.
He said that he had also been asking the council’s electoral services staff about to how the new system would work.