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When You'll Need Photo ID To Vote In UK Elections & How To Get ID For Free.


You'll need ID to vote from May 2023; here's why, what ID is accepted, and how to get ID for free if you need it

You'll need photo ID to vote from May 2023; here's why, what ID is accepted, and how to get ID for free if you need it

From 4 May 2023, voters in England will need to show photo ID to vote at polling stations in some elections. Voters in Scotland will also need to show photo ID from the same date, at UK parliamentary by-elections and recall petitions, and in Wales at Police and Crime Commissioner elections, UK parliamentary by-election and recall petitions.


The reasoning behind the change in the voting process is to tighten up rules around voting to stop potential fraud from taking place. Although there have been very few verified cases of voting fraud, it's hoped this new scheme will ensure an even lower possibility of voting fraud, although critics say there is more chance of postal voting fraud, than that of fraud taking place in an actual voting booth.


The upcoming London elections, which start on May 4th, 2023, will be the first to need users to have ID to vote, however a recent study showed som 61% of voters for the London elections, had no idea about the ID requirements, which may well lead to issues on the day.

This new rule will apply to:

  • Local elections

  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections

  • UK parliamentary by-elections

  • Recall petitions

From October 2023 it will also apply to UK General elections.


You can use any of the following accepted forms of photo ID when voting at a polling station.

International travel

  • 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

Driving and Parking

  • Driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state (this includes a provisional driving licence)

  • A Blue Badge

Local travel

Proof of age

Other government-issued documents

You will only need to show one form of photo ID. It needs to be the original version and not a photocopy.


You can still use your photo ID if it's out of date, as long as it looks like you. The name on your ID should be the same name you used to register to vote.


If you don't have an accepted form of photo ID

You can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate, if:

  • you don't have an accepted form of photo ID

  • you're not sure whether your photo ID still looks like you

  • you're worried about using an existing form of ID for any other reason, such as the use of a gender marker

You need to register to vote before applying for a Voter Authority Certificate.


If you don't have an accepted photo ID, you can apply for a free voter ID document, which is known as a Voter Authority Certificate. You can apply for this for free, normally via your local council.


When applying for a Voter Authority Certificate, you will need to provide your:

  • name

  • address

  • date of birth

  • National Insurance number


If you don't know your National Insurance number or don't have one


You can find your National Insurance number on:

  • payslips

  • official letters about tax, pensions or benefits

You can also view your National Insurance number online on the Gov.UK website where you can also download a form to have your number sent to you, which will normally take about 15 working days. You cant get your number over the phone.


You can still apply if you don’t know your National Insurance number, or don’t have one.

You will need to provide other forms of proof of identity, such as a birth certificate, bank statement and utility bill. Your local council will contact you to arrange this.


Providing a photograph


You will need to submit a photo with your application. The requirements for the photo are similar to the requirements for a passport photo. If you need help taking a photo, then your local council will be able to do this for you.






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