The Elections Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022 and set a requirement for voters to produce ID in order to receive a ballot paper in a polling station.
The Elections Act 2022 updates existing electoral law. Some of the regulations under this new act are currently in the process of being made by Parliament so may be subject to change until the final Regulations are made. The Voter Identification Regulations 2022 became law in January 2023 and the details below were confirmed in those regulations.
From May 2023 individuals who wish to vote in person, including those acting as a proxy on behalf of another individual, will be required to produce an accepted form of photographic ID to prove their identity before they will be issued with a ballot paper.
This will apply at:
- UK parliamentary by-elections
- Recall petitions
- Police and Crime Commissioner elections
- Local government elections in England
The requirement for voter ID to be provided at UK Parliamentary General elections will only take effect for polls held after 5 October 2023.
If you are unable, or do not wish to show photographic ID at a polling station, you can apply to vote by post. Postal voters are not required to show ID. Find out more about postal voting at our Vote by Post or Proxy page
The accepted forms of photographic ID are:
- 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 War Disablement 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
Expired photographic identification documents can still be used as accepted photographic ID at the polling station, as long as the photograph is still a good likeness of the elector.
Where an elector does not have or does not wish to use one of these accepted forms of photographic ID, they can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC). This is a document containing an elector’s name and photograph which can be obtained free of charge from your local Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) at Dover District Council, following verification of the applicant’s identity.
Anonymous electors wishing to vote in person will also need to produce photographic ID. The only accepted form of photographic ID for an anonymous elector will be an Anonymous Elector’s Document. This is a document containing an anonymous elector’s elector number and photograph which can be obtained free of charge from their ERO, following verification of the applicant’s identity.
The Voter Authority Certificate and Anonymous Elector’s Document cannot be used as proof of identity for any other purpose than for voting.
Applications for a Voter Authority Certificate
Electors can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate in a number of ways:
- in person with the Electoral Services Team at the Council offices in Whitfield
Before applying for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) online, the applicant must either be registered to vote or have made an application to register to vote. This can be done online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Before applying for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) paper application form, the applicant must either be registered to vote or have made an application to be registered to vote. If you have not, you will need to do so before applying for the VAC. We can send you a voter registration form with your VAC application or you can do both online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote Paper application forms are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-voter-authority-certificate-by-post-if-youre-living-in-the-uk
Receipt of completed paper applications
Completed paper application forms can be sent to the Electoral Services Team, Council Offices, White Cliffs Business Park, Whitfield, Dover CT16 3PJ by post, delivered by hand or sent electronically, such as a scanned copy sent by email to email@example.com .
Electors must submit a suitable photograph at the time of their application.
Information required on application
The information required on the application has been listed under the Voter Identification Regulations 2022. The information required is as follows:
Each application should contain the following:
- The applicant’s full name
- Address where the applicant is registered to vote or where the applicant has applied to register
- Applicant’s date of birth
- Applicant’s National Insurance Number
- Whether the applicant needs to collect the document rather than it being posted, and if so the reason why it cannot be posted.
- Whether the applicant requires a Braille, easy read or large print explanation of the document to be issued.
- A declaration by the applicant that the information given on the application is true
- The date of the application
- A photograph of the applicant, as per the guidelines listed below.
Anonymous electors will also need to state that they have an anonymous entry on the Register of Electors.
The photograph requirements below have been taken from the Voter Identification Regulations confirmed in law January 2023;
- The photograph must be;
- in colour
- taken against a plain background
- in sharp focus and clear
- free from “redeye”, shadows which obscure the face, or reflection
- a true likeness of the applicant, without amendment or manipulation and
- a close-up photograph of the head and shoulders of the applicant.
- The photograph must show the full head of the applicant without any other person visible or any kind of face or head covering.
- The applicant must be –
- facing forward,
- with nothing covering the face,
- looking straight at the camera,
- with a plain facial expression, and
- with eyes open and clearly visible (e.g. without sunglasses and not obscured with hair etc.).
If applying electronically, either by using the digital service or scanning and emailing your application, the photograph must be at least 750 pixels in height and at least 600 pixels in width; it should be contained in an electronic file which is no more than 20MB in size. The file can be JPG, PNG or GIF.
If applying in person or using a paper form, the photograph must be between 45 mm and 297 mm high, and between 35 mm and 210 mm wide. For comparison, a standard passport size photo is 45 mm high and 35 mm wide, and would be an acceptable size.
Any electors who may have difficulties completing the paper or online form can make an appointment at the Council Offices in Whitfield to complete an application with help from a member of the Elections Team.
The applicant must be registered to vote, or have made an application to be registered to vote and must have all the required information to hand in order for the Electoral Services staff member to complete an application in full on their behalf. This includes the need to provide a suitable photograph with the application.
The legislation does not allow for applications to be made by telephone, only in ‘writing’.
However, should you experience problems completing the form, you can call the Electoral Services Team for assistance on 01304 872344
All applicants, no matter which method they use to apply, must make a declaration of truth as part of their application. It will be an offence under s13CZA of the Representation of the People Act 1983 to give false information as part of the Voter Authority Certificate application process.
Tel: 01304 872344