Military vet turned away from polling station because staff wouldn't accept his ID

Veterans minister Johnny Mercer apologised to the man (PA Wire)
Veterans minister Johnny Mercer apologised to the man (PA Wire)

A military veteran said he was “gutted” to be turned away from a polling station as his ID card was not accepted.

Army veteran Adam Diver, 48, said he arrived at his polling station in Fleetwood, Lancashire, on Thursday but was “turned away at the door” as the veteran card he presented does not class as formal ID.

“I felt clearly deflated, I felt gutted to be fair and upset – I felt angry at the point,” said Mr Diver, who served in the army for 27 years.

“I felt like my time served was invalidated and I just thought to myself, ‘what was the point in that?’

“I’ve served in pretty much every war going, I’ve spent 27 years away from my family.

“I thought you could use it as an ID card. It’s like a driving licence, you can’t get any more official and it didn’t strike me one bit that it wouldn’t be validated.”

Writing on X, he said: “I will be fighting for this ‘special ID’ to be ‘more’ formal”.

Voters must take photographic ID with them in order to take part in Thursday’s local, mayoral, and police and crime commissioner elections.

This is because of the Elections Act 2022, a law change first put to the test during the May 2023 local elections.

Acceptable forms of ID listed in the Act include a passport, driving licence, Proof of Age Standards Scheme (Pass) cards, Blue Badges, and some concessionary travel cards.

But the veterans ID card, introduced at the start of this year, is not accepted.

Veterans minister Johnny Mercer issued an apology to Mr Diver on X, writing: "I am sorry about this.”

He added: "The legislation on acceptable forms of ID came out before the veterans ID cards started coming out in January this year. I will do all I can to change it before the next one.”

Mr Mercer voted for the voter ID scheme when it was before the Commons.

According to Parliament’s voting records, he also voted to reject a Lords amendment aimed at widening the forms of acceptable identification to include workplace ID, library cards, bank statements and an array of other documents.

Ministers are currently consulting on whether to include veteran cards in the list of approved forms of ID.

A government spokesman said: “Our intention is for the new Veteran Card, which was rolled out in January 2024, to be added to the official list of recognised identification – and we are already consulting on this.

“Defence Identity cards for serving Armed Forces members are already accepted.

“The introduction of the requirement to show photographic identification for voting in person across Great Britain is in line with longstanding arrangements in Northern Ireland and elsewhere, and has been recommended by international election watchdogs, including the Electoral Commission.

“The vast majority of voters in the polling station - 99.75 per cent - cast their vote successfully at the local elections in England in May 2023, and we are confident that they will be able to do so at these polls.”