Voters across England need to show photo ID to vote in person in a polling station, following new requirements introduced by the Elections Act in May 2023. A new form of free ID, the Voter Authority Certificate, will be available for those who do not have another type of accepted ID.
As well as the questions and answers below, further information is also available at electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID.
Why has photo ID been introduced?
The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station is a new requirement, introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act which was passed in 2022.
The new requirement came into effect at local elections taking place last year on Thursday 4 May 2023.
Where will I need to show photo ID?
Voters are required to show photo ID before voting in local council elections in England, police and crime commissioner elections in England and Wales, and in any parliamentary by-elections. Voters will also need photo ID at UK parliamentary general elections.
Which forms of ID are acceptable?
Accepted forms of ID include:
- A passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state, or a Commonwealth country
- A photo card driving licence issued by the UK, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state
- Some concessionary travel passes, such as an Older Person’s Bus Pass or an Oyster 60+ card – Merseytravel bus passes are only accepted if they include “funded by HM Government”. If they haven’t been funded by the Government, they will not be accepted.
People will be able to use expired photo ID if they are still recognisable from the photo. There is more information on the Electoral Commission’s website on all the accepted types of ID at electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID.
Why aren’t other forms of ID accepted?
The law specifies the types of documents that are accepted forms of ID. These have been decided by the UK Government. The criteria can be found on the Government’s website.
What will happen if a voter goes to the polling station with no accepted identification?
If a voter turns up at a polling station with no accepted photo identification, they will not be issued with a ballot paper and will need to return with an accepted form of photo identification.
What if a voter doesn’t want to show ID to vote?
A private area will be available in the polling station so you can choose to have your ID viewed in private if you like. This may be in a separate room or an area separated by a privacy screen, depending on the polling station.
Staff at the polling station are there to help so if you do need assistance, please ask.
Alternatively, if you have any concerns, please speak to a member of the Elections Team in advance by calling 0151 443 2222.
If a voter would prefer not to show ID at a polling station, they can apply to vote by post or proxy. Photo ID isn’t required to apply to vote by post or to appoint a proxy. However, the voter’s proxy will be required to show their photo ID at the polling station.
For the 2 May 2024 elections, the deadline for applying for a postal vote (or a postal vote proxy) is 5pm on 17 April 2024, and the deadline to appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf in the polling station is 5pm on 24 April 2024.
You can apply for a postal vote or a proxy vote by calling Knowsley’s Election Team on 0151 443 2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are you doing about those without ID?
We are working to ensure that anyone without an accepted form of ID is aware of the free ID available and understands how to apply for it.
The Electoral Commission is running a national public awareness campaign, but you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate online on the Electroral Commission website or by completing and posting a paper form to Knowsley Council’s election team. Voters will need to provide a photograph, their address, date of birth and National Insurance number as part of the application. They will also need to state the date of the application and make a declaration that the contents of the application are true.
Anyone who needs a Voter Authority Certificate to vote in the 2 May 2024 elections, must apply by 5pm on Wednesday 24 April 2024.
What information is included on the Voter Authority Certificate/ free ID?
The free ID will show a voter’s full name and photograph, the issuing local council, an appropriate identifier (reference including numbers and letters allocated by the council), the date of issue and a recommended renewal date.
How does this impact voting by post or proxy?
Voters will not need to show photo ID in order to apply by post or proxy, although the proxy will need to show their photo ID at the polling station.
For the 2 May 2024 elections, the deadline to apply for a postal vote (or postal proxy) is 5pm on 17 April and the deadline to appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf in the polling station is 5pm on 24 April.
When do I need to register to vote by?
To vote in these elections, you must be registered to vote by 11.59pm on Tuesday 16 April 2024. If you’ve never registered, have moved address or changed your name, register to vote online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.