Voter ID and Election Act 2022 Changes

As of May 2023, photo identification will be required to vote at a polling station.

Voter ID for elections

All electors, who vote at a polling station, will be required to show an accepted form of photographic identification from May 2023. You will need ID to receive your ballot paper to cast your vote in a polling station. There will be no exception to this rule, which will include anonymous electors. 

If you act as a proxy for an elector, you will need to show your own ID. You will not need to provide ID for the person you are acting as a proxy for.

Acceptable forms of photographic ID which must include a photograph that is still a good likeness of you. 
Passport UK or issued by an EEA State or Commonwealth Country (Valid or Expired as long as the photograph is a good likeness of you: 
Apply for a UK passport

Driving licence (Road Traffic Act 1988) issued by the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man or an EEA State (including provisional licences)Apply for a drivers licence

Immigration document:

A biometric immigration document issued in accordance with regulations under Section 5 of the UK Borders Act 2007.

Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) hologram:

These include:

  • CitizenCard
  • My ID Card
  • Milton Keynes all in 1 MK Card
  • NUS Totum ID Card
  • Validate UK Card
  • Young Scot Card
  • One ID 4 U Card Apply for a PASS Card

Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
Concessionary travel passes

These include:

See a British Sign Language video on important voting information here:

Chronically sick or disabled

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).Apply for a blue badge

Electoral documents

Such Electoral document including:

  • 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
  • an electoral identity card issued under section 13C (electoral identity card: Northern Ireland)
  • a national identity card issued by an EEA state

Voter Authority Certificates

If you do not have any of the accepted forms of ID, listed above you will be able to apply online for a free Voter Authority Certificate (VAC). This is a photographic identity document specifically for the purpose of voting for individuals without any accepted photographic identification.  

There will be three varieties of this ‘electoral identity document':

  • the voter authority certificate (VAC) 
  • the temporary Voter Authority Certificate, which Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) will have the discretion to provide in contingency situations
  • the Anonymous Electors Document (AED), for use by anonymous electors only. However, registered anonymous electors will be required to apply for an AED as this will be the ONLY accepted form of voter ID for anonymous electors at polling stations. Further information on how anonymous electors will apply for the AED will be available in January 2023 and contacted accordingly. 

The Voter Authority Certificate is an A4 paper-based document, with appropriate security features, displaying only the elector’s name, photograph, date of issue, issuing local authority, an ‘identifier’ (i.e., an alphanumerical reference), and a recommended renewal date.

For applicants, the Voter Authority Certificate application service will consist of:

  • a GOV.UK Voter Authority Certificate Service – an online application service, provided by central government on the GOV.UK website, where you can submit your application for a Voter Authority Certificate online 
  • an alternative paper application form designed by the Electoral Commission, allowing you to make your application for a Voter Authority Certificate on paper and either post or hand in the application to their ERO 

If you own an accepted form of photographic ID you do not need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (Voter ID). If your photographic ID document has expired it can still be used, if the photograph is still a good likeness of you.

See a British Sign Language video on important voting information here:

Accessibility at polling stations 

The new law will make it easier for voters with disabilities to vote. Changes took place from the May 2023 elections. Voters with disabilities will be given extra support at polling stations and proposals will allow anyone over the age of 18 to act as a companion for a voter with a disability. Read further information about voting if you have a disability.

Changes to absent voting 

Absent Voters – Future changes for Postal and Proxy Voters
Changes below will come into force from October 2023

Beginning October 2023 If you are applying to vote by post or by proxy, you will be asked to provide proof of your identity. A new application service will be set up which allows you to apply for a postal or proxy vote, and verify your identity, online.
The existing secrecy requirements will be extended to postal and proxy votes. Further information can find on the Electoral Commission website. 

Postal Voting 

From October 2023 instead of refreshing your signature every five years, this will be changing to every three years. 
Any Election being held from December 2023 onwards If you hand in your postal vote at a polling station on the day of the election, you will only be allowed to hand in a maximum of six postal votes. Political parties and campaigners will be prevented from handing in postal votes. 

Proxy Voting 

You will only be able to act as a proxy for a maximum of four people. Of these four, the maximum number who can be ‘domestic electors’ (voters living in the UK) is two. Proxy voting changes will be implemented from October 2023. 

Rights of EU Citizens for voting and candidacy 

From May 2024 EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote, or stand for election. Two groups of EU citizens will retain their voting and candidacy rights these are:

  • Qualifying EU citizens who come from countries which have reciprocal agreements with the UK (currently this is Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, and Spain)
  • EU citizens with retained rights, who were living in the UK before 1 January 2021 (before the UK left the EU)

This change will apply to all local elections and referendums in England, all elections for council and combined authority mayors, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. 

Overseas Electors

The 15-year limit on voting for British citizens living overseas is to end. In future, any British citizen, who was previously registered to vote in the UK or who previously lived in the UK, will be able to register to vote regardless of how long they have lived abroad.

The renewal period for overseas electors will change from one to three years. These changes will take place from January 2024. 

First past the post 

The voting system for the following elections will be changing from a supplementary vote system to a ‘first past the post’ system:

  • local authority (council) mayors in England
  • combined authority mayors
  • Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales
  • the London mayor

In ‘first past the post’ voting you only vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most votes will win. Candidates will no longer have to secure a certain number of votes; they will just have to win more votes than any other candidate.

Further information on accepted forms of identification are set out in Schedule One of the Elections Act. This list includes ‘an electoral identity document issued under section 13BD (electoral identity document: Great Britain)’.

More useful information on voting:

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