THE voter ID trial held in the district during the local elections has been hailed a success.

Only 73 voters were turned away from polling stations for failing to provide the necessary ID required to vote.

An estimated 35,185 people attended polling stations on Thursday, May 2, meaning only 0.2 per cent were unable to vote due to failing to provide the correct documents.

Turnout for the council elections was 31.22 per cent.

Residents were asked to provide either one piece of photographic or two non-photographic pieces of ID before they were issued their ballot paper.

Following the trial, Braintree Council's returning officer Andy Wright, who is also the authority's chief executive, said: “We’re pleased that the vast majority of residents brought ID to vote at the local elections.

"We worked hard to get the message out through our communication channels including writing to every household explaining voter ID and what ID would be accepted, social media, local newspapers, waste collection vehicles, noticeboards and digital advertising.

"We also offered to provide a free certificate of identification to anyone who didn’t have any ID."

The council was one of 10 authorities across the country taking part in the Cabinet Office's pilot scheme, which had already been trialled in more urban districts last year.

Braintree Council was selected to take part in this year's trial due to its more rural setting.

Mr Wright added: "By taking part in the trial we were able to play a leading role in providing further insight into how best to ensure the security of the voting process across the country.

"Although we have no evidence of voter fraud in the district, it is important that areas like ours trial voter ID to make sure that a solution to issues elsewhere will also work in rural locations such as ours."

Ahead of this year's trial, the Cabinet Office said it was committed to rolling voter ID out on a national scale ahead of the next scheduled General Election in 2022.

However, the Electoral Reform Society dismissed the need to introduce the scheme due to fears it would disenfranchise voters and thus "undermine democracy".

The Cabinet Office was contacted for comment following the end of the trial but no response was received.