The Elections Act 2022 is a new piece of legislation that make amendments to the current voting and registering system. As part of this legislation, electors in polling stations are required to show photographic Identification before being issued a ballot paper. This will come into effect for the Thursday 4 May 2023 elections. For elections or neighbourhood planning referendums before 4 May 2023, ID will not be required in the polling station.
Electors must show one of the accepted photographic identification documents to polling station staff and be registered on the electoral register to be issued a ballot paper.
On this page
- Acceptable ID
- Expired ID
- In the polling station
- What if I don’t have one of the accepted IDs?
- What happens if I turn up to my polling station without my ID on polling day?
- What if I have changed my name but my ID is in my old name?
- Can I use a photocopy or picture of my ID on my phone?
- Why isn’t my work or student pass/railcard acceptable ID?
- I wear a face covering for religious or cultural reasons, how do I verify my ID?
- I’ve lost/destroyed my ID close to polling day, what do I do?
- Do I need to supply ID when voting by post or proxy?
- I am a proxy for someone, what do I need to bring?
- Anonymous Electors
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.
- 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
We will accept expired identification, so long as the photograph remains a good likeness of the elector. While such identification may no longer be acceptable for its original purpose, if it is still clearly able to demonstrate the identity of the elector then it will be accepted.
In the polling station
Please ensure you have your ID when entering the polling station. State your name and show your ID to the polling station staff. After your ID has been confirmed, please confirm your address and they will locate you on the electoral register. You will then be issued a ballot paper.
The name on your ID will need to match the name on the electoral register in order to issue you a ballot paper.
We would advise you to check the spelling on your poll card and inform us if your name appears incorrectly before polling day. If you have registered as a shortened version of your full name, then the polling staff can issue you a ballot paper if they are satisfied with the ID and that you are the registered elector.
If your name has changed through marriage or deed poll and you have not yet updated your ID, you can provide supporting documents. If this is the case, please show the polling station staff your accepted ID and your change of name documentation.
What if I don’t have one of the accepted IDs?
If you do not have one of the accepted IDs, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate – often referred to as a Voter Cert or Voter Card. This is a government-issued certificate that can be used as ID in the polling station.
This is an A4, paper-based certificate that contains your photograph and name. The Voter Cert has no expiry date and can be used at any polling station in the UK where you are registered to vote. You do not need to re-apply for a Voter Cert each year, unless you have lost or damaged it.
You can apply for a free Voter Cert online or contact us for a paper form.
You can apply for a Voter Cert at any point, even before an election has been called but the deadline to apply is 6 days before polling day.
The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate for Thursday 4 May 2023 election is Tuesday 25 April 2023.
Voter Certs will be printed and despatched centrally from a government-appointed contractor. There will be a 5-day turn-around from successful application to delivery.
If you do not receive your Voter Cert, please contact electoral services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01256 845467.
What happens if I turn up to my polling station without my ID on polling day?
If you arrive at a polling station with no ID, you will be asked to leave the polling station and return with your ID. You will not be issued a ballot paper until your ID has been seen by polling station staff.
What if I have changed my name but my ID is in my old name?
If your name is different to the name listed on your accepted ID, please provide additional supporting evidence. For example, a marriage certificate, deed poll or decree absolute.
Can I use a photocopy or picture of my ID on my phone?
Photocopies of identification documents or pictures on mobile phones of identification document will not be accepted as photo-editing software could be used to edit them.
The exception is if you are showing additional documentation to support your change of name. Supporting documents for a name change, such as a wedding certificate, may be ‘certified copies’ and will be accepted in polling stations for the purpose of demonstrating a name change.
Why isn’t my work or student pass/railcard acceptable ID?
Work/Student Passes: Given the wide array of professional and educational organisations that provide photographic identification, it would not be difficult to create a form of identification for a non-existent organisation meaning these would be susceptible to fraud.
It is important to note, however, that some student cards are PASS accredited, and so would be accepted (e.g. the National Union of Students ‘TOTUM’ student card). All accredited PASS cards bear the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram.
Railcards: while a Railcard is considered a concessionary travel pass, the Government does not believe this would be an appropriate form of identification as it is insufficiently secure. Similarly, the 18+ Oyster card does not have a suitably secure application process for it to be used as photographic identification at polling stations (unlike the 60+ Oyster card, which has more rigorous processes).
I wear a face covering for religious or cultural reasons, how do I verify my ID?
If you wear religious or cultural garments that require your face to be covered, you will be asked to remove this in a private space to show the polling station staff.
There will be a private area in all polling stations, which will allow voters wishing to have their form of identification to be viewed in private to do so. This may be achieved in a variety of ways and will depend on the room or rooms being used as polling station. For some stations, this may be achieved through the provision of privacy screens or, in others, using an existing partition, an annex, or a separate room to facilitate this.
You may wish to request a specific gender poll clerk to view your ID and show your face to. Where possible, we will have both female and male members of staff present in polling stations. There will also be Polling Station Inspectors who can visit a polling station if needed. Please let polling staff know if you require privacy or a gender specific poll clerk.
If you have any questions or concerns about removing face coverings, please contact the electoral services team at email@example.com or call 01256 845467.
I’ve lost/destroyed my ID close to polling day, what do I do?
You can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. You can apply for this online or by paper form. The deadline to apply for this is 6 working days before the day of poll. For Thursday 4 May 2023, the deadline is Tuesday 25 April 2023.
If you have lost your ID or your ID has been stolen, destroyed or damaged beyond use after this date has passed, you can apply for an emergency proxy.
You would appoint someone to vote on your behalf as your emergency proxy. You would need to complete an emergency proxy application form and this needs to be verified by the electoral services team by 5pm on polling day. Please contact electoral services at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01256 845467 to arrange your emergency proxy.
Emergency proxies will need to vote on your behalf at your assigned polling station. They will need to bring their ID with them to vote. They must have a form of acceptable ID.
Do I need to supply ID when voting by post or proxy?
You will not need to supply ID when voting by post or appointing a proxy.
Post – You already provide personal identifiers when voting by post. This helps reduce fraud and ensure only you can complete your postal ballot pack. When you complete your postal vote application form, you are required to provide a date of birth and signature. This cannot be a computer-generated signature. When you receive your postal ballot pack, you complete a postal voting statement with your date of birth and signature. If these details do not match your original application then your postal vote will be rejected and your vote will not be counted.
Proxy – You, as the elector, do not need to provide ID when nominating someone to vote on your behalf. You complete a proxy application form with your date of birth and signature to authorise someone else to vote on your behalf.
If your proxy is voting in the polling station for you, they must provide ID for themselves.
If they are voting as a postal proxy, they will complete the proxy to vote by post form with their personal identifiers – date of birth and signature. If the details on the postal voting statement do not match the original application then the postal vote will be rejected and the vote will not be counted.
If you would like to apply to vote by post or proxy, please visit our postal and proxy page or contact the electoral services team.
For Thursday 4 May 2023, the deadline to apply to vote by post is 5pm Tuesday 18 April 2023. The deadline to apply to vote by proxy is 5pm Tuesday 25 April 2023.
I am a proxy for someone, what do I need to bring?
If you are a proxy, you will need to show your own photographic identification in the polling station in order to show that you are the named proxy. You do not need to show identification of the elector on whose behalf you are voting. If you do not have accepted ID, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate. The deadline to apply for this is 6 working days before polling day. Please refer to the section What if I don't have one of the accepted IDs?
Any anonymous elector voting in a polling station must apply for an Anonymous Elector Document (AED). It will include their elector number as shown on the register.
Please contact electoral services at email@example.com or call 01256 845467 to request an AED.
At the polling station, you will need to show your poll card and your AED to be issued a ballot paper. The AED will not have your name or address on it but will include a photo and elector number.
As your elector number on the AED must match the elector number on your poll card, please be advised that you will need to need to re-apply each year for an AED when you renew your anonymous declaration. If your elector numbers change mid-year, between applying and an election, a new AED will be required with the new elector number on it.