The Elections Act 2022 was granted Royal Assent and passed into law on 28 April 2022. It brought significant changes to the way elections are run. One of the most significant changes is that you need to show photographic identification (ID) when you attend a polling station to cast your vote.
Not all of the changes have been announced, so this is a summary of what we know so far, and we'll update it once we know more.
You will have to show an official form of photo ID when you attend a polling station to vote, the following list includes types of identification that can be presented at the polling station:
- a 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
- a driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state
- a biometric immigration document
- an identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
- a Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
- a Blue Badge
- a national identity card issued by an EEA state
- an Older Person's Bus Pass
- a Disabled Person's Bus Pass
- an Oyster 60+ Card
- a Freedom Pass
- a Scottish National Entitlement Card issued in Scotland
- a 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card issued in Wales
- a Disabled Person's Welsh Concessionary Travel Card issued in Wales
- a Senior SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
- a Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Person's SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
- a 60+ SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
- a Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
- an Electoral Identity Card issued in Northern Ireland
If you do not have an official form of photo ID
You can Apply for photo ID to vote (called a 'Voter Authority Certificate') . It's free to apply, you will need:
- a recent, digital photo of yourself
- your National Insurance number
You can still apply if you do not have a National Insurance number. You'll need to provide other documents to prove your identity, for example a birth certificate, bank statement and utility bill.
If you know somebody who does not have access to the internet
They can apply for a voter certificate in person at these locations during opening hours:
If you would like to apply for the voter authority certificate using a paper form please contact:
EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote or stand for election.
Two groups of EU citizens will retain their rights:Qualifying EU Citizens
These are citizens from countries with reciprocal agreements who have 'leave to remain' in the UK or who do not need 'leave to remain' in the UK. These are currently Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain.EU Citizens with Retained Rights
These are EU citizens who were living in the UK before 31 December 2020 (the date when the UK left the EU).
These changes will apply to:
- All local elections and referendums in England.
- These changes are expected to come into force by Spring 2024.
Extra support will be provided to voters with disabilities when voting in person at a polling station.
A disabled voter can be accompanied by anyone over the age of 18 at a polling station.
These changes come into force from May 2023.
Request extra support at polling stations
Fill in our simple online form
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After you've requested support
The Returning Officer will review your request and look at the options available to support you. A member of the Electoral Services Team will be in touch within 10 working days with further information
Absent voting allows you to vote in an election if you are unable to vote in person at the polling station on the day. For example you might be on holiday or at work, you might have a medical condition or disability which makes it difficult to attend the polling station or you simply may choose not to vote at the polling station in person.
There are two types of absent voting:
The changes you'll see
You will have the option to apply for a postal vote via a new central government online system. This system is expected to be available from the 31 October 2023.
You will need to provide your national insurance number when applying for an absent vote, whether this is an online application or paper application. If you cannot supply your national insurance number, you will be asked to provide a document to evidence your identity.
Postal voters must reapply to vote by post every 3 years, the Electoral Services Team will contact you when it is time to reapply for your postal vote.
Political parties and campaigners will be banned from handling postal vote packs.
There will be a limit on the number of postal vote packs that a person can hand in at a polling station.
You will only be able to act as a proxy for up to 2 people living in the UK (or a maximum of 4 people, with 2 people living in the UK and 2 people registered as living overseas).
The 15-year limit on voting for British citizens living abroad will be removed. Any British citizens who were previously registered to vote in the UK or who previously lived in the UK will be able to register as an overseas elector.
British citizens living abroad will be required to re-register every 3 years.
For more information see Overseas voters