Two weeks left for voters to apply for free ID
There are just two weeks left to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate, for voters that do not have another accepted form of photo ID they can use in polling stations this May. The Electoral Commission is calling on anyone that needs the free ID to apply now, before the deadline of 5pm on Tuesday 25 April.
Over 55,000 people have already applied for a Voter Authority Certificate, ahead of the May elections where photo ID will be required for the first time at polling stations in England.
New research from the Commission shows that 76% of people now know they need to bring photo ID to vote in a polling station, compared to 22% in December and 63% in February.
Applications can be submitted online at gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate (Opens in new window), or by completing a paper form and sending this to the local council’s electoral services team. Voters will need to provide a photo, their full name, date of birth, the address at which they are registered to vote and their National Insurance number.
Applicants must be registered to vote before applying. The registration deadline is 11.59pm on Monday 17 April, and applications to register can be made online at gov.uk/register-to-vote (Opens in new window).
Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission said:
“The deadline to apply for the free voter ID is fast approaching and anyone that needs it should get their application in as soon as they can. The free ID will help ensure that everyone is able to take part in the May elections, even if they don’t currently have an accepted form of photo ID.
“The process of applying doesn’t take long and there is information and support available from the Electoral Commission and your local authority. If you have friends or family who don’t have an accepted form of photo ID, please spread the word.
“It’s encouraging to see public awareness of voter ID continue to grow. Our efforts to reach voters with information about the requirement will continue up until polling day.”
Anyone with questions about applying for the free ID should contact their local authority. Contact details – and more information about the ID requirements – can be found on the Electoral Commission website.
For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or firstname.lastname@example.org (Opens in new window)
Images for articles on the May elections can be downloaded here.
Notes to Editors
- Research was carried out by YouGov on behalf of the Electoral Commission. Data is for a representative sample of eligible voters in England. Figures shown exclude London respondents. The total sample size was 2,224. Fieldwork was carried out online between 22 March and 5 April 2023.
- The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station is new and has been introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act, which was passed last year.
- Accepted forms of photo ID include a UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport; UK or EEA drivers’ licence; and some concessionary travel passes, such as an UK Government funded older person’s bus pass or an Oyster 60+ card. Voters can use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo.
- The UK Government’s Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities is responsible for the new voter ID policy and for the free voter ID application system. Enquiries relating to the application system or the policy itself should be directed to the Department.
- The Electoral Commission is responsible for ensuring voters are aware of the new voter ID requirement, and for supporting local authorities with administering the process. Questions related to the public awareness campaign should be directed to the Electoral Commission.
- Local authorities are responsible for implementing voter ID at the local level.
From 4 May 2023, voters in England will need to show photo ID to vote at polling stations in some elections.
This 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.
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