The way that we vote has changed. Voters now need to show photo ID at polling stations. We’ve put together this guidance for church and community leaders, to help you share this information within your community.
Voter ID doesn’t replace the need to register to vote – you will still need to register to vote at your current address, if you haven’t already.
What is changing?
The UK Government has introduced a legal requirement for voters to present photo ID at a polling station in some elections. This first applied in the local elections that took place in England on 4 May 2023, and will apply to any UK General Election after October 2023.
Who is likely to be impacted?
These groups are more likely to find ID a barrier to voting and may need your support. It is important that we do not let this change disenfranchise anyone.
- Disabled people
- Gypsy, Roma and Traveller
- Older people
- People experiencing homelessness
- People registered to vote anonymously
- Trans and non-binary people
What is an accepted form of ID?
Voters need only one form, in the original version. This could include:
- Driving licence
- Blue badge
- Concessionary travel card
- Identity card with PASS mark
- Biometric immigration document
You can still use your photo ID if it’s out of date, as long as it looks like you and has the same name.
You can find a full list of other forms at: electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID
What if I don’t have ID?
If you or someone in your community doesn’t have ID, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate. You can:
- Apply online at: voter-authority-certificate.service.gov.uk
- Apply by requesting a paper form from your local council
- Apply in person at your local council (some councils may not offer this)
To apply, you will need to give your:
- Date of birth
- National Insurance number
- A photograph (passport style)
How can I share this change?
We’ve produced a poster that you can print out and put up in your church or community space. It is also helpful to remind people in your community of the changes, and how to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate if they need. You may want to identify anyone in your community who will need additional support to do this.
You could consider adding instructions on applying for a Voter Authority Certificate to your church newsletter.