The way that we vote is changing. From 4 May 2023, voters will 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 will first apply in the local elections taking place in England on 4 May 2023,and in any election after this.
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
Deadlines for May 2023 Elections
Monday 17 April: Register to vote
Tuesday 18 April: Apply for a postal vote
Tuesday 25 April: Apply for a Voter Authority Certificate
Thursday 4 May: Polling Day (remind others to bring ID)
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You can still use your photo ID if it’s out of date, as long as it looks like you and has the same name.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 the deadlines they need to meet to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. 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.