Labour has claimed millions of voters could be disenfranchised under plans which could force people to carry identification in order to cast a ballot.
Ahead of the introduction of the elections bill to parliament, the shadow democracy minister Cat Smith, said the sweeping changes were tantamount to US Republican-style “voter suppression”.
The government made the policy one of its flagship announcements in the Queen’s speech earlier this year, and claimed the overhaul would make elections more secure by cracking down on in-person voter fraud. It also wants to limit the number of postal votes that a person can hand in on behalf of others.
Critics say a national requirement for all voters to carry identification could cost the taxpayer about £40m over the next decade.
A study released in May that found more than 2-million voters could lack the necessary ID to take part in future elections, but details of what forms of identification are acceptable will be revealed when the bill is published.
Various pilots of voter ID, ranging from people simply having to present polling cards to mandatory photo documents such as passports or driving licences, took place in a series of English council districts at local elections in 2018 and 2019. That resulted in more than 1100 voters being turned away at the polling station.
Voters in Northern Ireland are already required to show identification before voting.