VOTERS turned away from polling stations in ID trials last year massively outnumber complaints of voter fraud in person, according to charity Full Fact.

While the number of voters who couldn’t cast their vote in Swindon was much lower than in the other four trial areas, it still almost matched the number of complaints about someone trying to use another's vote - 'personation' - for the entire country in 2016.

Full Fact’s report says that at local elections on May 3 this year between 326 and 350 people were turned away from polling stations in Swindon, Watford, Gosport, Woking, and Surrey for not having the required ID, and did not return later with the right documentation.

It adds: “In a single day across five councils, twice as many people didn’t vote due to having incorrect ID, as have been accused of personation in eight years in the whole of the UK.

“There have been 172 alleged cases of personation at a polling station between 2010 and 2017.”

There were a total of 1037 voters turned away for not having the right ID, 64 of those at Swindon polling stations, according to the Electoral Commission, which ran the trials.

Of the 326-350 who didn’t come back, only 25 of those were in Swindon.

In 2017, the number of complaints about a voter impersonating someone else was 28 for the whole country, only three more than the number of voters who did not return in Swindon.

Complaints doubled from 21 in 2014 to 45 in 2016, which had been cited as one of the reasons for the voter ID trials.

One reason for fewer people being turned away in Swindon is that people there were required to take their polling card to the polling station, and people registered to vote will, by definition, be sent a polling card.

In Bromley and Gosport voters needed to show one piece of photo ID or two pieces of non-photo ID, and in Woking it was one piece of photo ID, and not everybody has a photo driving licence or passport.

Leader of Swindon Borough Council, Coun David Renard said: “We are pleased the Voter ID pilot ran so smoothly here in Swindon and this was reflected in the findings of the Electoral Commission’s recent evaluation report.I am, however, not surprised that this was the case because I know how hard our Communications and Electoral Services teams worked in the months leading up to the local election and on Election Day itself to make sure people were aware of the need to bring ID to vote.

“Turnout was up and was higher than in previous comparable years which showed our engagement strategy worked, and worked well.

“In my view it is absolutely right that people should have to bring a form of ID in order to vote and the success of our pilot showed that people were prepared to prove who they were in order to exercise their democratic right to vote.”

More trials will be run at next year’s local elections in different towns and cities with different demographic make-up.