We are holding a by-election for the Hermitage & Gardens Ward, after the sad passing of our dear friend and colleague, Julie Davies.

Earlier this month, the community came together to pay our last respects and to celebrate the incredible life Julie led.

We are all in profound shock that she’s gone, and will miss her companionship, her acerbic sense of humour, and the immense decency she displayed to everyone whose lives she touched. Above all she was a warm, kind, and compassionate person, and a close friend to me and to so many of us in Haringey. She was truly an unstoppable force, and she will be so deeply missed.

Ham & High: Peray Ahmet hopes that voter ID will not stop people voting in the local by-election for Hermitage and Gardens wardPeray Ahmet hopes that voter ID will not stop people voting in the local by-election for Hermitage and Gardens ward (Image: Haringey Council)

A new local councillor for Hermitage and Gardens will be elected today (Thursday, June 29).

This is the first year where residents are legally required to bring photo identification to a polling station to be eligible to vote. At the last local elections in England this new policy prevented 14,000 people from voting.

The UK has extremely low levels of proven electoral fraud; in 2019, 595 cases of alleged fraud were investigated by the police, with six of these leading to police action. Voter ID is a completely disproportionate measure; 14,000 people were prevented from voting to tackle an issue that barely exists.

Instead, this change has the potential to exclude people from exercising their democratic right to vote. Even Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg described this move as ‘gerrymandering’. It’s been argued that the idea was to suppress votes among young people or people from a background that are less likely to possess formal ID.

We live in a democracy, and as a society we must reject this attempt to disenfranchise any demographics – whether we share their views or not. Please do remember to bring photo identification with you today and in future elections, so your vote can be counted.

Cllr Peray Ahmet is the Labour leader of Haringey Council.