The Elections Act 2022

The Elections Act is a new piece of legislation that makes amendments to the current voting and registering system.

The Elections Act 2022 was granted Royal Assent and passed into law on 28 April 2022. Further detail will be covered in secondary legislation, developed in the upcoming months. The new legislation will include absent voting rules, EU citizens' voting rights, accessibility, voter identification and 'votes for life' for overseas electors.

The Elections Act will be implemented in stages.

The first stage of the Act, which includes voter photo identification for in-person voting, came into effect for the Thursday 4 May 2023 election.

New absent voting rules were introduced on 31 October 2023 and "votes for life" for overseas electors was implemented on 16 January 2014.

The legislation for EU citizens' voting rights will be implemented at a later date.

We will regularly update this page as new parts of the Act are introduced.

ID at the polling station

Electors voting at polling stations will need to show photographic identification before being issued a ballot paper.

The Elections Act sets out in Schedule 1 the list of photographic identification documents that will be accepted. This list, for elections in England, is replicated below. The Act also makes provision for the list to be amended in future if necessary.

Accepted documents:

  • A United Kingdom passport
  • A passport issued by an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
  • A licence to drive a motor vehicle granted under (i) Part 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, or (ii) the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 (SI 1981/154 (N.I. 1))
  • A driving licence issued by any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or an EEA state
  • A biometric immigration document issued in accordance with regulations under section 5 of the UK Borders Act 2007
  • An identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • A Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
  • A badge of a form prescribed under section 21 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 or section 14 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 (blue badge scheme)
  • An electoral identity document issued under section 13BD (electoral identity document: Great Britain)
  • An anonymous elector’s document issued under section 513BE (anonymous elector’s document: Great Britain) the holder of which has an anonymous entry at the time of the application for a ballot paper
  • A national identity card issued by an EEA state
  • Any of the following concessionary travel passes funded by the UK Government:
  • Older Person's Bus Pass
    • Disabled Person's Bus Pass
    • Oyster 60+ Card
    • Freedom Pass

Please note expired ID will be accepted provided the photo is still a good likeness to the elector.

For more information, please see our Voter ID page.

Voter Authority Certificate

If an elector cannot provide photographic ID then they can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (Voter Cert). Electors can apply for this certificate online or by paper.

This is a certificate that will act as your ID to allow you to vote in polling stations. If you have one of the accepted IDs then you do not need to apply. The certificate is free and you will not be charged for applying. The certificate will be for use solely for the purpose of voting and is not intended as either an identity card or a proof of age card.

You can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate online. For a paper form, to be sent in the post or collected at our offices, please contact

For more information, please visit our Voter ID webpage.

Overseas electors

On 16 January 2024, the Elections Act 2022 removed the 15 year limit for registering as an overseas elector. Any British citizen living overseas that was previously registered or previously resident in the UK can register to vote. You can register online on the GOV.UK website.

  • You must use your last registration in the UK. This could be your last registration as an ordinary elector or your last registration as an overseas elector
  • If you were never registered while you lived in the UK, you can provide the UK address you were last resident at.

If you were never registered, you may be required to provide proof of your residence at the UK address. The online application form will state which information you are required to provide, based on your circumstances.

Overseas electors can vote at their assigned UK polling station -based on their qualifying address, by post or by nominating a proxy to vote on their behalf. You can select your preferred method of voting when registering.

The Elections Act 2022 has removed the annual renewal system for overseas electors. Instead of renewing on a yearly basis from your application date, overseas electors will renew on the third 1 November since their registration date.

For example, overseas electors who register in January 2024 will be required to renew their applications by 1 November 2026.

If you are an existing overseas elector, you will move from the previous annual renewal to the extended renewal process on your next renewal date.

Postal and Proxy votes

The Elections Act has made significant changes to postal and proxy voting.

Postal and Proxy Application Forms: From 31 October 2023, you must supply a national insurance number when applying to vote by post or proxy. A new online application system has also been introduced. You can apply for a postal vote on the GOV.UK website and you can apply for a proxy vote on the GOV.UK website.

Postal vote applications will be valid for a maximum of three years. Proxy applications are valid for one election date only, unless you meet the criteria for an extended proxy vote.

An individual can act as a proxy for two people. If you vote on behalf of UK voters who live overseas, you can act as a proxy for up to four people but only two of those can live in the UK. It is an offence to act as a proxy for more than the legal limit.

For more information about voting by post or proxy, please visit our Postal and proxy voting page.

Returning postal ballot packs: Under the Elections Act 2022, postal voters will be required to complete a Postal Vote Return Form if handing their postal vote into the Civic Offices or to their polling station by hand. You do not need to complete this form if you are returning your postal ballot pack by post.

Handing in postal ballot packs: If you decide to hand in your completed postal ballot pack to the Civic Offices or the polling station then you need to be aware of the restrictions that apply.

  • You must complete a Postal Vote Return (PVR) Form with a member of staff. If you do not complete the PVR Form, then your vote will be rejected.
  • You may hand in your own postal vote and up to 5 postal vote packs from other electors per poll.
  • If you hand in more postal votes than the permitted amount, all votes except your own will be rejected.
  • If you are a political campaigner, you are only permitted to hand in your postal vote and/or a postal vote of a close relative or someone who you provide regular care for.
  • If a political campaigner hands in, or is suspected of handing in, postal votes for individual that is not a close relative or someone whom they provide care for then those postal votes will be rejected.

The Postal Vote Return Form (PVR) will be completed by yourself and a member of staff when you hand in your postal ballot pack. If you leave your postal ballot at the Civic Offices or at a polling station, without completing the relevant form, then we must reject your vote. Please post your completed postal ballot pack to us or speak with a member of staff if you decide to hand it in. It is important you complete the form.

Candidates, Campaigners and Political Parties: It is an offence for a political campaigner to handle postal votes of individuals – excluding their own postal vote or the postal vote of a close relative or someone whom they provide regular care for. The postal votes will be rejected.

A political campaigner is defined within the legislation as a person who is:

(a) a candidate at the election;

(b) an election agent of a candidate at the election;

(c) a sub-agent of an election agent at the election;

(d) employed or engaged by a person who is a candidate at the election for the purposes of that person’s activities as a candidate;

(e) a member of a registered political party who carries out an activity designed to promote a particular outcome at the election;

(f) employed or engaged by a registered political party in connection with the party’s political activities;

(g) employed or engaged by a person listed in (a) to (f) above, to carry out an activity designed to promote a particular outcome at the election;

(h) employed or engaged by a person within paragraph (g) to carry out an activity designed to promote a particular outcome at the election.

If you are a candidate or campaigner, we would strongly advise you contact us to ensure you understand the new rules regarding postal vote handling. We will be providing detailed information in our Candidates and Agents Briefing on Monday 12 February 2024 at 6pm.

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