Research raises concerns over voter ID requirements

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Goldsmiths research highlights concerns that Election Act voter ID requirements may affect minority groups voting

Two Goldsmiths students surveying voters exiting the polling station at the local elections

Goldsmiths students Lauren Alkhalil (L) Alice Chapman (R) and appeared on the Channel 4 item surveying voters

Sue Clayton, Professor of Film and Television at Goldsmiths is conducting research looking at the long-term effects of the Election Act 2022, which stipulates that anyone voting must present a valid form of identification.

Professor Clayton has conducted almost 500 interviews and surveys at polling stations of local council elections and by-elections to assess the impact.

The research has revealed that 4% of the population will be impacted by the new voter ID requirement and therefore may not be able to vote in the July 4th General Election.

This is most likely to impact young people under 25 and neuro-diverse and lower-income groups, who are less likely to have the required forms of identification.

This also affects recent immigrants and those in some ethnic minority groups, who whilst having a legitimate right to vote, are less likely to have the precise forms of photo ID set out as required. Forms of ID such as student ID cards and 16-25 rail cards are not accepted or documentation and ID from outside the UK.

The research also found that 38% of people said the Election Act has affected their confidence in the British electoral system. 

Channel 4 News has reported on Professor Clayton’s research and has broken new ground by commissioning news presenter Ruben Reuter, who has a neuro-divergent profile, to report on the story.

The 5-minute news bulletin includes several interviews conducted by Professor Clayton and volunteers from the Goldsmiths Immigration Law Clinic.

The Immigration Law Clinic is run by Marta Minetti, Lecturer in Law at Goldsmiths, specialising in Immigration Law and Global Human Mobility. The clinic provides students of all subjects the opportunity to go on placements with several organisations and groups and conduct valuable research, including Professor Clayton’s voter ID project. Goldsmiths students including  Alice Chapman, and Lauren Alkhalil have been involved in the project with real impact.

Goldsmiths student Lauren Alkhalil, who supported with research for the project at the recent local elections said:

On 2 May we surveyed voters leaving the polls to try and find people who may have had issues voting due to the new voter ID laws. It was an insightful day, we had a multitude of different types of feedback from voters.

Lauren Alkhalil, BA Sociology and Politics

Lauren added: “Some stressed their aversion to the new amendment whilst others spoke of their confusion over the amendment and of difficulties they experienced applying for the right form of ID to vote. The survey has been an important part of our investigation into Voter ID laws and we hope to highlight how people’s right to vote may be impacted by them.” 

The project is designed to allow Goldsmiths students to get research and practice experience in the field of Immigration Law and policy, regardless of which subject they are studying.

Professor Clayton is working with the Good Law Project, a group taking legal action against the government for failing to properly assess how its voter ID rules affect marginalised groups. The research will be presented as part of a report of evidence in the High Court. The research will also form part of a wider report calling for a cross party Parliamentary group to re-evaluate the Election Act and its impact on voters.

"Based on our findings from council elections and by-elections that have taken place since the Election Act was introduced, and backed up by statistics from the Electoral Commission, we estimate that up  to 2 million eligible voters could find themselves unable to vote at the General Election on July 4th.  This of course is highly concerning, especially the way it affects younger people, those on low incomes and immigrant communities, and we'd expect the next government to remedy this and restore the public's confidence in our voter system, " Professor Clayton said.


Anyone who is registered to vote but does not have the right form of ID required to vote in the upcoming General Election (Passport, Driving Licence) can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) until Wednesday 26 June. More information is available on the Electoral Commission Website.