From May 2023, electors will be required to show an acceptable form of photographic identification in order to receive their ballot paper(s) to cast their vote in a polling station under the new requirements under the Elections Act 2022.
If you don't already have any of the below acceptable forms of photographic ID, you will be able to apply either in person, by post or online for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) - a free photographic identification document used and issued for the specific purpose to allow an elector to vote in the polling station.
The requirements to show photographic ID in the polling station will apply at the following polls:
- UK Parliamentary General Elections
- Local Elections
- Local Referendums
- Police and Crime Commissioner Elections
- Recall Elections
What photographic ID will be accepted in polling stations?
- 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 Persons 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 ID documents can still be used as accepted photographic ID at the polling station or signing place, as long as the photograph is still a good likeness of the elector.
The Voter Authority Certificate cannot be used or accepted as proof of identity for any other purpose other than voting.
Voter Authority Certificate (VAC)
Where an elector does not hold one of the acceptable forms of photographic ID listed above, they can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate free of charge following verification of an applicants identity.
An elector can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate in a number of ways:
- Online on Gov.uk
- Completing a paper application with a photo enclosed
- In person at the Council Offices
Current expectations are that the Voter Authority Certificate Service will be launched in January 2023.
Voter ID FAQ's
It is following a 2019 Manifesto to 'protect the integrity of our democracy, by introducing identification to vote at polling stations' following a Central Government pledge.
No, photocopies or copies of images on mobile phones or other electronic devices will not be accepted as photo-editing software could be used to edit the documents and therefore could be subject to fraudulent alteration.
You will be advised to leave the polling station and to return with one of the acceptable forms of ID to allow the polling station staff to issue a ballot paper.
Yes, expired documents will be accepted as long as the photograph on the document still resembles a likeness of the elector.
Anyone wanting to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate must provide a suitable photograph either through the Gov.uk application process or submitted with a paper application which meets the following requirements:
- A Close-up photograph of the head and shoulders
- without any other items or persons in the background
- without any covering of the head unless worn for religious beliefs or medical reasons.
- In sharp focus and clear (not blurry)
- In colour and taken against a plain, light background
- Free from redeye, shadows and not in the reflection of windows or mirrors
- Resembles a true likeness of the applicant without alteration.
The applicant photo must show them:
- Facing forwards
- With nothing covering the face
- Looking straight at the camera
- With a plain facial expression
- With eyes open and visible (e.g. no sunglasses or being covered by hair).
If your name has changed (e.g. through marriage, deed poll etc), you may be asked to provide additional supporting documents, such as a marriage or civil partnership certificate that provides evidence of the name change.
If the spelling of your name is spelt incorrectly or an alternative spelling is present to the one on the electoral register, it will be the Presiding Officers discretion on whether they will accept the form of ID at the polling station.
Where Stroud does not have any scheduled polls, there is no deadline.
Where Stroud does have scheduled elections (next scheduled elections are May 2024) the deadline to apply will be 5pm six working days ahead of any poll. Where an elector is registered and they have missed the deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, they can apply for an emergency proxy, however the proxy will need to present their photographic identification at the polling station.
No, the Voter Authority Certificate can only be used as photographic identification for the purposes of elections and voting within the polling station, it cannot be used as proof of age or identity for any other purpose or function.
In this circumstance, where the elector has lost all forms of photographic ID or the Voter Authority Certificate ahead of the 5pm deadline 6 working days before any scheduled poll (next scheduled elections are May 2024) and they do not have any of the other forms of acceptable ID, they can reapply for a Voter Authority Certificate.
Where an elector has lost, destroyed, damaged or had their photographic ID stolen and they become aware of this after the 5pm deadline 6 working days before poll to apply for the Voter Authority Certificate, there will be the provision for an elector to appoint an emergency proxy for that polling day.
Yes, anyone who has appointed a proxy or emergency proxy to vote on your behalf, the proxy must bring their own photographic ID to present at the polling station. They do not need to bring photographic ID of you (the elector they are voting on behalf of) they only need to bring their own ID.
If the proxy does not have a form of acceptable form of photographic ID, they can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate.
No, electors will not be required to show photographic ID to hand deliver a postal vote to a polling station.
The Voter Authority Certificate is expected to be an A4 sized paper based document which will include:
- Full name of the applicant
- Photograph of the applicant
- Date of issue
- Appropriate Identifier (generated once application has been verified comprised of 20 numbers or letters)
- Sentence advising the certificate was issued by the Electoral Registration Officer for Stroud District Council
- A recommended renewal date (10 years from date of issue)
- One or more security measures recommended by the Home Secretary.
Once verified by the Electoral Registration Officer, it is expected that the Voter Authority Certificate will be printed within 1-2 working days and delivered by Royal Mail unless the applicant advices they want to collect their Voter Authority Certificate from the Council Offices at Ebley Mill.
The Voter Authority Certificate will have a recommended renewal date listed on the document for 10 years from the date of issue.
We advise that you contact the Elections Office on 01453 754886 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you have not received your Voter Authority Certificate within 2 weeks of application where there are no scheduled elections due to take place in Stroud.
Where a scheduled election is due to take place in Stroud (next scheduled elections are May 2024) and you applied before the 5pm deadline 6 working days before poll, you contact the Elections office immediately so we can investigate and advise on the next course of action.
Applicants who are applying for the Voter Authority Certificate will not need to reapply for a new Voter Authority Certificate if they have changed address (either within the same Local Authority or a different Local Authority) within the recommended 10 year renewal date. This is because the address of the applicant is not listed on the certificate.
Anonymous applicants will have to reapply for a Anonymous Elector Document if they change address (either within the same Local Authority or a different Local Authority) because their elector number will be different at their new address.
Yes, anonymous electors wishing to vote in person at the polling station will need to apply for an Anonymous Elector's Document (AEDs) and present this document at the polling station along with their anonymous poll card.
The Anonymous Elector's Document will be the only form of identification that an anonymous elector will be able to provide and use at the polling station, they will not be able to present any other form of ID, including the acceptable photographic ones. This is because an anonymous electors name does not appear on the electoral register and therefore no other form of documentation would prove their identity and eligibility to have a ballot paper issued.
Anonymous electors will be required annually to reapply and renew their Anonymous Elector Document by providing a new photo as part of the application process at the time of their annual declaration renewal. The Electoral Registration Officer will also issue a replacement document if they renumber their electoral register (the anonymous applicant will not need to reapply in this scenario).
The Anonymous Elector Document is expected to be an A4 sized paper based document with appropriate security features and will not display the applicants name and instead will be replaced with the elector number of the applicant.
Yes, poll cards will still be sent to every registered elector however rather than being A5 size, they will be A4 sized and enclosed in an envelope. They will also list all acceptable forms of photographic ID on the poll card.
Only the Presiding Officer and Poll Clerk at the polling station can inspect the electors photographic identification.
The polling station staff will first check whether the elector is listed on the register of electors for that polling station (we are advising electors continue to take their poll cards to the polling station which will assist the polling station staff is locating their name on the electoral register). Once the polling station staff have found the elector on the register of electors, they will then ask the elector to present their acceptable form of photographic identification. The polling station staff will then proceed to check the photographic identification provided resembles a likeness to the elector and check that the name matches on the register of electors.
Where the polling station staff are satisfied the photographic identification resembles the elector, a ballot paper will be issued to the elector to cast their vote.
Where the polling station staff are not satisfied the photographic identification resembles the elector, no ballot paper(s) will be issued and instead the polling station staff will be required to log and record the reason for refusal along with the elector number. The elector can return to the polling station and provide another form of photographic identification and the above process will be repeated to check it’s likeliness.
All polling stations will also be required to have a private area for the checking of photographic identification if the elector requests so.
Yes, you are still able to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, however if you already have one of the acceptable forms of photographic identification then you do not need to also apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.
If you do not want to show photographic identification at the polling station, you can apply to vote by post or proxy. Photographic identification is not required to apply for a postal or proxy vote, however if you choose to set up a proxy, your proxy will be required to show their photographic identification at the polling station.