The reply from James Sunderland MP for Bracknell to my 32nd Letter to him.

Dear Mr Enga,

Thank you for contacting me about the Elections Act 2022 and its provisions for introducing voter id. I must state that I reject any claims you make that this is an attempt at voter suppression. This is a vital piece of legislation to protect our democratic process and streamline how voting is conducted.

The public must have confidence that our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century. Asking voters to bring identification to their polling station is an important way of achieving this and the Elections Act puts such a requirement into law. This is part of a wider package of measures in the Elections Act to strengthen electoral integrity – including by tackling postal and proxy voting fraud, tackling intimidation, increasing transparency of digital campaigning, and preventing foreign interference in elections.

Identification to vote has been backed by the Electoral Commission and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which state that its absence is a security risk. Without a requirement for identification at the polling station, it is harder to take out a library book or collect a parcel at a post office than it is to vote in someone else’s name.

In Northern Ireland voters have been required to produce personal identification before voting in polling stations since 1985, with photographic identification being required since 2003 when introduced by the last Labour Government. Ministers at the time noted that “the Government have no intention of taking away people’s democratic right to vote. If we believed that thousands of voters would not be able to vote because of this measure, we would not be introducing it at this time.”

Anyone without a form of identification will be able to apply for a new free Voter Authority Certificate – meaning that no voter will be disenfranchised. Ministers assure me that this system will be in operation in good time ahead of the implementation of voter identification. The Electoral Commission will also be delivering a national communications campaign for voter identification.

I am pleased that constituents such as yourself monitor my voting record and am always happy to answer queries about what I vote for and likewise do not vote for. I am always mindful of Bracknell in my voting and believe that this was an important measure for our collective electoral future.

Thank you once again for taking the time and effort to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

p.p., Niall Hawkins
James Sunderland MP
Member of Parliament for the Bracknell Constituency
Bracknell, Crowthorne, Finchampstead, Sandhurst and Wokingham Without

From: Terence Enga
Sent: 13 December 2022 14:43
Subject: Letter from your constituent Terence Enga

Tuesday 13 December 2022

Dear James Sunderland,

I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and hope you manage to
get some time to relax with family and friends over the holidays.

I noticed that last night you voted for the Elections Act 2022 which
most people are calling the Voter ID Bill. This will introduce the
requirement to show photo ID at UK Parliamentary elections. I am not
aware of any significant voter identity fraud at previous UK elections
and with a Government scrambling to make savings in public expenditure,
this Act seems expensive and unnecessary.

However, I am mainly concerned that the Act’s real purpose is to weight
future elections, by discouraging voters the Government think will not
vote for them. To me they do this by allowing more ID options for the
elderly than the young. The young are already familiar with ID for
their purchases or venue entry. The Act permits “An Older Person’s Bus
Pass”, “An Oyster 60+ Card” and “A Freedom Pass”, while not allowing
“18+ Student Oyster Cards”, “National Railcards”, or “Student ID

You voted down The House of Lords Amendment allowing these additional
ID cards. This looks so much like a blatant attempt at Voter
Suppression with the Young Voter in particular being handicapped. I’m
puzzled though, about your vote for this Act. You represent a town with
one of the largest population growth rates in England. Many of these
newcomers will be just the young, that this Act will harm most. Our
Town is not an Old Population Town. In fact your vote harms your own
voters. Did you think this through?

Bad legislation tends to get replaced or removed and you must know,
this Act almost certainly won’t survive the next Government. Will it do
enough to change the next election outcome? I doubt it. What it will do
is make things harder for many legitimate voters and cost a lot of
money that could be used better elsewhere.

You might think your voting record isn’t noticed. Please don’t. I

Yours sincerely,

Terry Enga

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