This is the week when poll cards for the Thursday, May 4th elections will land on doormats across Bath and North East Somerset.
There are local elections to choose ward councillors for Bath & North East Somerset Council and, on the same day, there will also be elections for the town and parish councils in our area.
To vote in these elections, residents must be on the electoral register. If you are not on the electoral register at your current address, you must register to vote by midnight on Monday 17 April. It takes just five minutes to apply online at gov.uk/register-to-vote. If you have any queries, you can call us on 01225 477333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year for the first time voters will need to show photo ID when they go to the polling station. 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.
A passport, photocard driving licence, Blue Badge, Older Person’s Bus Pass (such as a Diamond Travelcard) 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.
The full list of accepted forms of photo ID is printed on the back of poll cards and is also available on the Council website: www.bathnes.gov.uk/voterid. If your photo ID has expired it will still be accepted so long as the photograph is still a good likeness of you and the name is the same as on the electoral register.
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 Guildhall, Bath, Bath Housing, Welfare and Advice Service in Manvers Street, Bath, Keynsham Library and Information Service and Midsomer Norton Library and Information Service. A staff member will be able to take a digital photograph to accompany the application.
Applications for Voter Authority Certificates must be submitted by 5pm on Tuesday 25 April.
Will Godfrey, Returning Officer for Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “This week electors in Bath and North East Somerset will receive their poll cards. We invite everybody to read their poll card carefully, as it contains details about the election and important information about the new photo ID requirement for those voting in person at the polling station. Under the Elections Act 2022 you must have photo ID to vote at a polling station. You will not be able to vote unless you show photo ID to the polling station staff. Electors who do not have an accepted photo ID can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate either online or at the Council’s information and advice centres.”
There are three ways you can vote: in person at your polling station, by post or by asking someone you trust to vote on your behalf (by proxy).
To vote by post you need to complete and return a postal vote application form by 5pm on Tuesday 18 April. You can download a form via www.bathnes.gov.uk/votebypost or contact Electoral Services on 01225 477333 to request a paper copy to be posted to you.
To vote by proxy you need to complete and return a proxy vote application form by 5pm on Tuesday 25 April. You can download a form via www.bathnes.gov.uk/votebyproxy or contact Electoral Services on 01225 477333 to request a paper copy to be posted to you.
If you vote by post, you will not need to provide photo ID.
If you vote by proxy, the person voting on your behalf will need to show their own photo ID at the polling station to be able to cast your vote.
The list of candidates will be published on Wednesday 5 April and can be found on https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/local-elections-4-may-2023
More information is available on the council website (www.bathes.gov.uk/elections).