Plans to make voters show photo ID in May’s elections have been described as “taxpayer funded disenfranchisement” by York’s largest political party.

Liberal Democrat councillors have said barely any information has been provided to councils despite all-out elections in the city now being less than five months away.

While work is underway at the council to prepare for the changes, serious concerns remain over the additional strain on staff and resources they will require.

A motion to be discussed at a meeting of full council this week seeks to condemn the introduction of mandatory photo ID at polling stations and calls for a public report to update councillors on local preparations.

Cllr Andrew Hollyer, who will propose the motion on Thursday, said: “This is an outrageous, expensive and convoluted exercise of direct voter disenfranchisement in a bid to tackle effectively non-existent fraud.

“The changes will clearly most directly affect younger, low income, homeless, LGBT+ and young people – hardly known as supporters of the Conservative party.”

York Press: Cllr Andrew HollyerCllr Andrew Hollyer

Census data from 2021 shows that more than one in 10 people in York do not hold a passport. Photographic driving licences, biometric immigration documents and some concessionary travel passes will also be permitted.

Across all 10 trial areas in 2019, 1,968 people were turned away for not having the correct ID. Of those people, 740 did not return to vote, according to Full Fact.

In September, the Electoral Commission said the changes could not “be delivered in a way which is fully secure, accessible and workable” in time for the local election.

Cllr Hollyer added: “Since passing this pointless legislation, little to no information and support for preparing for the changes has come through to councils. With elections less than five months away, the short timetable and lack of clarity about the rules could cause hundreds of people to be stopped from voting at the local elections.

“It’s not just those without ID that will have to pay up, either buying ID cards or giving up paid work to apply for ID documents. The Government’s own figures suggest the scheme will cost up to £180 million extra a decade.”

There were only four convictions resulting from the allegations of in-person

voter fraud throughout 2019.

The Government has acknowledged levels of fraud are low but argues that every ballot matters, and that voter ID will protect voters from having their vote stolen.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords will seek to kill off the plans using a parliamentary device called a “fatal motion” on Tuesday.

Yorkshire Lib Dem peer Baroness Pinnock said: “Liberal Democrats have no choice but to oppose these voter ID regulations in the strongest possible way.

“Without cross-party support or a U-turn from the Government, thousands of people will be simply unable to vote at the next election."