For the first time, residents in Surrey Heath and across the UK will need to show photographic ID to vote at their local polling station for this year’s local elections on 4 May. Local residents are being urged to make sure they are ready to vote in May by checking they have an accepted form of photo ID.
Accepted forms of photo ID include a UK or other relevant passport; drivers’ licence; and an older person’s bus pass or an Oyster 60+ card. Voters will be able to use these accepted forms of photo ID, even if they have expired, but only if they are still recognisable from the photo.
Only an original version of the accepted photo ID will be accepted - scanned images or copies can’t be used.
Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of photo ID can apply for a free voter authority certificate online (external link) or by completing a paper form.
The certificate is free of charge, valid for at least 10 years and can be used for all elections.
The deadline to apply for free photo ID before the May elections is 5pm on 25 April. Applicants must be registered to vote, and will need to provide their date of birth, National Insurance number, and a photograph with their application.
Postal votes are becoming increasingly popular given their convenience, and you will not need to use photo ID if you vote by post, as other ways to verify your identity are used. If you would like to apply for a postal vote visit the gov.uk website(external link) or contact our team via firstname.lastname@example.org (link sends email) or call 01276 707165.
The full list of accepted photo ID is available on the Electoral Commission’s website (external link), along with more information about the new requirement, and details of how to apply for the free ID
Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance, said: “Anyone voting at a polling station in England this May will need to show photo ID before they can be given their ballot paper. It’s important that everyone understands what types of ID they can use, and how to apply for free ID if they need it. You can find information about the new requirement and what to expect at the polling station on the Electoral Commission’s website.”
Damian Roberts, Surrey Heath Returning Officer, said: “With elections taking place in Surrey Heath on 4 May 2023, it is important that those who want to vote check they have an accepted form of ID. It may seem early but checking now means you will be ready to vote in May.
“Residents who do not have one of the accepted forms of ID can apply for free ID either online or by completing a paper application form and sending this to our democratic services team. If you need any help with applying for the free ID or want to request an application form, contact us on email@example.com (link sends email) or call 01276 707165.”
Anyone who wants to have their say in the elections this May must also be registered to vote. It only takes five minutes to register online at gov.uk/register-to-vote. Voters wishing to apply to their council for free ID should first make sure they are registered to vote.
The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station is a new requirement, introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act which was passed last year and comes into effect for the first time this May.
Visit the elections and voting webpages.