Don’t let the new law on voter identity catch you out!
Residents without accepted photo ID, who want to vote at the polling station in the local elections on 4 May, can call into Bath & North East Somerset Council offices to get help applying for a Voter Authority Certificate.
Changes in national legislation mean that for the first time, voters will need to show photographic ID when they vote in person at the polling station. It is a new requirement introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act, which comes into effect from 4 May 2023. Voters will also need to be on the electoral register.
A passport, photocard driving licence, Blue Badge, Older Person’s Bus Pass (including Diamond Travelcard) or a Disabled Person’s Bus Pass are some of the documents that will be accepted as proof of identity when voters go to the polling station to vote in the local elections.
The full list of accepted photo ID can be found on the Electoral Commission’s website or by calling 0800 328 0280. Out of date photo ID can still be used providing that the name is the same as on the electoral register and the photo is recognisably you.
Voters who don’t have an accepted 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 following council offices:
- The Guildhall in Bath
- Bath Housing, Welfare and Advice Service on Manvers Street
- Keynsham Information and Advice Service
- Midsomer Norton Information and Advice Service
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. Staff will be able to take a photograph to accompany their application.
The deadline to apply for a certificate for the May election is 5pm, Tuesday 25 April.
Mandy Bishop, chief operating officer of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “Photo ID is a new requirement introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act, which comes into effect from 4 May 2023. Anyone who wants to vote will need to make sure they are on the electoral register and that that they have an accepted form of photo ID. We would encourage everyone to pass on this information, so that people are aware of the changes and can make sure they have everything they need to vote ahead of the 25 April deadline. Residents who don’t have any accepted photo ID and would like help applying for a free Voter Authority Certificate can call into one of our information services and staff will help them by completing the form online and taking a photo to go with it.”
Age UK BANES is also offering older people one-to-one support with applying online for voter ID. To find out more, call their Information and Advice team on 01225 466 135 or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can check if you are on the electoral register by calling 01225 477333 or emailing email@example.com. 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.
More information is available on the council website.