Important changes to how we vote in the UK

The UK government has introduced a new requirement which means people must bring photo ID to polling stations to be able to vote. We explore what this means for you.

Why is this change taking place and how does it affect me?

A law passed by the UK Parliament in 2022 means anyone wanting to vote at a polling station must bring photo ID. This applies to the May 2023 local election in England, and across Great Britain at any UK parliament by-elections. It will also apply to any UK General Election that takes place after October 2023. 

You may already have a valid form of photo ID which you can use to vote.

What forms of photo ID are accepted? 

You only need one form of photo ID, such as a passport, Blue Badge, driving licence or bus pass. It doesn’t need to be in date to be accepted. You can view a full list of accepted forms of photo ID on The Electoral Commission's website.

How can I vote if I don’t have any of these forms of ID? 

If you don't have an accepted form of photo ID, you no longer look like your photo on your ID, or your name on your ID is different to the name on the electoral register, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. 

It's free to apply. You can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate online or by post through the GOV.UK website.

The deadline to apply is 25 April 2023, in order to be able to vote in the local elections in May.

I vote by post. How does this affect me?

There are no changes taking place with how postal votes are handled, so you will not need ID to vote by post. However, from July 2023, you will need to reapply every 3 years for a postal vote. 

Someone votes for me by proxy. What do I need to know? 

The person who acts as your proxy will now only be able to do so for a maximum of 2 people living in the UK, or 2 people in the UK and 2 living overseas. You need to make sure your proxy voter knows this and your proxy voter will need to show ID. 

Has anything else changed?

Nothing else has changed in the voting process. If you vote in person, you should go to the same polling station as usual. If you don’t know where your polling station is, you can check on the Where Do I Vote? website. Just make sure you remember your photo ID. If you’ve already registered for a postal vote and intend to vote this way now and in future, this change doesn’t affect you. 

I’d like to find out more. Where should I go?

Visit The Electoral Commission website to find out more about the new voter ID requirement. If you want to know more about local elections in your area, check your local council’s website.