Elections Act 2022 and Voter ID FAQ's

Page updated on: 19/01/2024

Voter ID at Polling Stations

As part of the Elections Act 22, the UK Government has introduced a requirement for voters to show photo ID when voting at a polling station at Police and Crime Commissioner Elections and Parliamentary Elections (not local or Senedd elections in Wales).

This new requirement applied for the first time in Wales at the elections on Thursday 2 May 2024. To vote in person, voters must be on the electoral register and take a suitable type of photo ID to their polling station. 

At the polling station, staff will ask for your name and address as usual and will request to see your photo ID. They'll check that the photo ID is one of the valid types and, as long as the photo looks like you and you're on the electoral register, they'll issue you with a ballot paper. There will be a space in each polling station for photo ID checks to be carried out in private if required.

The Elections Act 2022 will require all voters to show photo ID at polling stations before a ballot paper is issued. This requirement is only relevant for Parliamentary Elections and Police and Crime Commissioner Elections. It does not cover Senedd and local Council Elections.

Electors will need to take photographic ID such as:

  • Passport
  • Driving Licence
  • Immigration Document
  • Blue badge
  • Older person’s bus pass
  • An Oyster 60+ card

If your photographic ID document has expired it will still be accepted as long as the photograph is still a good likeness of you.

Polling Stations will be required to provide a private area for the elector to produce identification in private if requested.

Only the presiding officer and poll clerk can inspect the ID. The polling station staff will check, first of all, that you are on the Register of Electors for that polling station (you may also take your poll card which will help the polling station staff). Once you are found on the Register, the polling station staff will then ask to see your photographic ID. This is so the polling station staff can ensure that you are the elector by cross-checking your name on the Register of Electors with your name and photo on the ID provided.

Failure to bring appropriate ID to the polling station will mean that you cannot be issued with a ballot paper, even if the polling station staff know you through local connections.

If you don’t already have any acceptable forms of photographic ID, you will be able to apply either in person, by post or online for a FREE Voter Authority Certificate. The online process will be via a Gov.UK website 'Get ready to vote in person’ digital service. You will be required to enter your name, address, date of birth, photograph and national insurance number. Once the process is complete, a certificate will be posted to you first class.

The deadline for applying for one of these certificates will be 5pm, six working days ahead of an election day.

It is anticipated that it will open on 16 January, 2023 but this is still to be confirmed.

Yes, you can apply for such a certificate, but please check firstly that you do not already have a suitable form of ID. The Voter Authority Certificate will be valid for ten years.

If you applied before the deadline then your local elections office can print a temporary voter authority certificate up until 5pm on polling day. You will need to collect this in person from the elections office.

For Wales there are no elections forecast for 2023, however there could be a snap Parliamentary election. If this is called after May 2023 then you will be required to show Voter ID to vote at your polling station.

You may have a local election - a Town or Community by election or a County Council by-election (because a Member has resigned, passed away) - but voter ID will NOT be required for these elections because they are local government elections.

You might see or hear that there are local elections in England in May 2023 and there will be lots of publicity to ensure that electors in England have Voter ID documents in order to vote. As stated, in Wales we do not have any elections in May 2023 AND our local elections in Wales are NOT covered by the voter ID requirements, but they are for English local elections.

Unless an earlier one is called, the next Parliamentary Election isn’t due until January 2025. The decision to hold an early election usually rests with the Prime Minister.

  • 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)
  • Driving licence (issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state - including provisional license)
  • Blue badge
  • Certain concessionary travel cards
  • Identity card with PASS mark (Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • Biometric Immigration document
  • Defence identity card
  • Certain national identity cards

Only original documents will be accepted; scanned images or copies will not be accepted. Expired documents will be accepted if the photo is still a current likeness of the voter.

For more information on which forms of photo ID will be accepted, visit the Electoral Commission website or call the Electoral Commission's helpline on 0800 328 0280.

If you don’t already have an accepted form of photo ID, or you’re not sure whether your photo ID still looks like you, you can apply for a free voter ID document known as a Voter Authority Certificate. You can apply for this at Gov.uk.

Alternatively, you can complete a paper application form and send this to the Electoral Services team at your local council.

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