The Senedd will debate the UK government's Elections Bill this afternoon.

Members will vote on a motion, tabled by Plaid Cymru, that calls on the Welsh Government to formally oppose the proposed law.

The motion proposes that the Senedd "condemns" the UK government for introducing the Elections Bill, and calls on the Welsh Government to "oppose and raise concerns" with the UK Government "at every opportunity".

If passed, the Elections Bill will make significant changes to campaigning and voting in UK elections.

One proposed measure, the requirement to show photo ID in order to vote in general elections, has attracted controversy since the Bill's introduction.


Many consider voter ID laws to be racially discriminatory, as BAME people are statistically less likely than white people to hold photo ID, owing in part to socioeconomic inequality.

About 47 percent of Black people in the UK do not have a driving licence, compared with 26 percent of white people.

Concerns have also been raised about the impact that compulsory voter ID would have on transgender and non-binary people, who face significant barriers to accessing appropriate ID documents, and who are also more likely to experience economic hardship.

The National Wales: The Elections Bill was introduced to Parliament in July 2021 The Elections Bill was introduced to Parliament in July 2021

A UK passport can cost up to £85, while a driving license can cost up to £43.

Sense, a charity supporting people with complex disabilities, has warned that "any additional barrier could discourage more disabled people from getting involved in elections."

In all, the Electoral Reform Society estimates that around 2 million people - four percent of the electorate - could be stopped from voting under the proposals, which if passed are expected to be in place by the next general election in 2024.

“Voting is the foundation of democracy here and everywhere, it gives the people a voice, and the power to hold politicians to account," Rhys ab Owen, Plaid Cymru's justice spokesperson, said.

"Any curtailing of this not only threatens to undermine all our rights, it threatens to harm our democracy and voter freedoms.

“If ever there was proof of the increasing chasm between the approaches to politics in devolved nations and Westminster it is the Elections Bill.

"Not only scrapping a more proportionate voting system by changing the way Police and Crime Commissioners are elected to a 'First Past the Post' system, it also introduces a requirement for photo identification to vote that is proven to reduce democratic participation.

“In Wales, we must do all that we can to reject this attempt to disenfranchise our citizens.

"Instead, we must pledge to create a better system in Wales, where elections are fair and accessible for all voters."

The National Wales: Levelling Up Minister Kemi Badenoch says that the Bill will protect the integrity of UK elections. (Picture: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)Levelling Up Minister Kemi Badenoch says that the Bill will protect the integrity of UK elections. (Picture: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)

Elections to the Senedd, as well as local authority elections, are devolved to the Welsh Government.

However, it is feared that the introduction of voter ID for UK general elections could cause confusion and impact turnout for devolved elections as a consequence.

Darren Millar of the Welsh Conservatives has tabled a counter-motion, which "notes that the introduction of voter ID has been backed by the Electoral Commission and that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights has stated that its absence is a security risk."

It calls on the Welsh Government to "work collaboratively with the UK Government".

Westminster says that the measure will protect the integrity of UK elections.

"Showing photographic identification is a reasonable and proportionate way to confirm that someone is who they say they are when voting, thus stamping out the potential for voter fraud to take place and giving electors the confidence that their vote is theirs and theirs alone," Kemi Badenoch, UK Levelling Up Minister, said earlier this month.

Just six cases of voter fraud were identified during the 2019 general election, however.

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.