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Elections Act and Voter ID

Electoral Commission graphic: You now need photo ID to vote at a polling station


Elections Act 2022

The UK government is making changes to the UK electoral system. The Elections Act contains measures that affect:

  • elections and the way we vote
  • campaigning and the rules on campaign spending and funding
  • parliamentary oversight of the Electoral Commission

General information about the Act is available on the Electoral Commission's About the Elections Act webpage. 

Voter ID

As part of the Elections Act, the UK Government has introduced a requirement for voters to show photo ID when voting at a polling station at most elections.

This new requirement applied for the first time in England at the local elections on Thursday 4 May 2023. 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.

Which forms of ID can I use to vote? Toggle accordion

You may already have a form of photo ID that is acceptable.  For example:

•    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 or call the Electoral Commission's helpline on 0800 328 0280.

What do I need to do if I don’t have an accepted form of ID? Toggle accordion

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 from mid-January 2023 at

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

If you need any help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate or want to request a paper application form, contact Electoral Services on / 01727 819294. 

Voting by post or by proxy Toggle accordion

Postal voters will not be affected and will be issued with their postal ballot papers as usual.

If you choose to vote by proxy then the person who you have trusted to vote on your behalf will have to take their own identification to be issued with a ballot paper.

Further information about voting by post or by proxy is available on our Electoral Register and Voting webpage. 

Find out more Toggle accordion

Click on the files below for: 

  • The Electoral Commission's guide to voter ID. Everything you need to know about photo ID for the May 2023 English local elections.
  • The Electoral Commission's easy read guide to voter ID. Everything you need to know about photo ID for the May 2023 English local elections in an easy read format. 

The Electoral Commission have also produced videos in BSL about voter ID

If you have any questions about voter ID or would like to find out more, go to or call the Electoral Commission's helpline on 0800 328 0280.