Make sure you’ll be able to vote in May’s local elections as changes in national legislation mean that for the first time voters will need to show photographic ID when they go to the polling station to exercise their democratic right.
A passport, photocard driving licence, Blue Badge, Older Person’s Bus Pass or a Disabled Person’s Bus Pass are some of the documents that will be accepted as proof of identity before voters will be issued with a ballot paper at the polling station. Voters will also need to be on the electoral register.
The need for photo ID is a new requirement, introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act, which comes into effect from 4 May 2023.
The full list of acceptable photo ID is available on the Electoral Commission’s website. An acceptable form of photo ID that is out of date can still be used if the name is the same as on the electoral register and the photo is recognisably you.
Voters who don’t have an acceptable form of photo ID can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate online or by completing a paper form. They can also apply for the certificate in person at the Guildhall in Bath, where staff will be able to take a photograph to accompany their application.
To apply for the certificate, residents will need to provide a passport-style photo, full name, date of birth, the address at which they are registered to vote and their National Insurance number.
Will Godfrey, chief executive of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “Although the local elections are not until May, we are encouraging residents who want to vote to make sure their name is on the electoral register and that they have an accepted form of photo ID. If you’re not sure whether you are registered to vote you can contact the council to check.”
You can check if you are on the electoral register by calling 01225 477333 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to register to vote for the May elections is Monday 17 April. Residents can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate at the same time as registering to vote.
The requirement to show photo ID only applies to people voting in person at a polling station. If you vote by post, you will not need to provide photo ID.
More information is available on the council website.