Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Monday 8 April 2024

Click to see the what, when and where
- and what one must and mustn't do
It's election time again, this time for local government in London and a bunch of other cities, though since there must be a general election by next January, this will inevitably be taken as an indicator of whether the government really is staring into the abyss the opinion polls suggest.

As ever, we get this handy formal notification of when and where to go, and the essential rules. 

But this year there was also a colourful leaflet reminding us that we now have to take photo ID with us to the polling station. There's a long list of suitable documents, of which I have at least three, so it won't be a problem for most people who don't forget to take it, but one does have to wonder whether it's really necessary.

I can't recall any cases where people have been prosecuted for impersonating someone else, let alone where it would have made any difference to the overall result. If you think about it, the effort of identifying people on the register who could be plausibly impersonated and then recruiting other people to pretend to be them just doesn't look remotely likely. These days, getting enough people to go out canvassing and leafleting seems to be more and more difficult for the parties. 

This rule was applied to last year's local elections in other parts of the country, and it looks as though at most 10,000 people across the country were turned away and didn't come back, or in effect a handful of votes in any one election.

As it happens, my polling station is in the primary school just over the road, so voting just requires a slight diversion from my normal route to buy my morning paper.

It's also a chance to admire this mosaic in the playground, and the children's artwork on the walls once inside (briefly, given how quick the actual process is). 

And then it's back home for breakfast, civic duty done. 

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