Elections Act 2022 and Voter ID
The UK government is making changes to the UK electoral system. The Elections Act 2022, which received Royal Assent in April 2022, contains measures that affect elections and how we vote.
The most significant of these is the introduction of photo identification at polling stations which will apply for the first time in England at the local elections on Thursday 4 May 2023.
Please note: There are no scheduled elections in Redbridge in 2023.
Acceptable forms of ID
You may already have a form of photo ID that is acceptable. You can use any of the following:
- Driving licence (including provisional license)
- Blue Badge
- Certain concessionary travel cards
- Identity card with PASS mark (Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
- Biometric Immigration Document
- Defence identity card
- Certain national identity cards
The Electoral Commission has more information about which forms of photo ID will be accepted.
No photo ID
If you do not have any of the accepted photo ID, and you want to vote at the polling station, you will need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. This is a free photographic identification document specific for the purposes of voting.
You can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate from 16 January 2023.
Alternatively, you can complete a paper application form. If you need any help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate or want to request an application form, contact Electoral Services.
If you do not produce a Voter Authority Certificate or valid identification, you will not be allowed to vote on polling day.
Find out more about the Elections Act 2022.
Further changes to elections
Other measures being introduced by the Elections Act include changes to absent voting, EU citizen's voting and candidacy rights, and overseas electors rights.
Absent voting - postal and proxy voting
Changes to absent voting include:
- Political parties and campaigners will be banned from handling postal votes
- There will be a limit to the number of postal votes a person can hand in at a polling station
- Postal voters will need to make a fresh application every three years, instead of the five-yearly signature refresh
- Electors will only be allowed to act as proxy for up to four people, of which no more than two can be "domestic electors" - i.e. not overseas voters
- Postal or proxy voting applications will include a requirement for the applicant's identity to be verified
Accessibility at polling stations
The new law will make it easier for voters with disabilities to vote.
Changes will be in place from Thursday 4 May 2023.
Voters with disabilities will be given extra support at polling stations and proposals will allow anyone over the age of 18 to act as a companion for a voter with a disability.
Changes to overseas electors’ rights include:
- The 15-year limit on voting rights for British citizens living abroad will be removed
- The registration period will be extended from one year to three
The changes are expected to be in place by May 2024.
EU citizens' voting and candidacy rights
Changes to EU citizens' voting and candidacy rights include:
- EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote, and stand for election
- Two groups of EU citizens will retain their rights:
'Qualifying EU citizens' from countries with reciprocal agreements, and who have leave, or do not require it, to remain in the UK – currently the following
- 'EU citizens with retained rights' who were residents in the UK before 1 January 2021
The changes to EU citizens' voting and candidacy rights will apply to all local elections and referendums in England and to the Mayor of London and London Assembly elections. The changes are expected to be in place for the Mayor of London and London Assembly elections on Thursday 2 May 2024.
Changes to voting systems
From May 2023 the voting system, at the elections listed below, will be changing from a supplementary vote system to a simple majority voting system.
This is traditionally known as ‘first past the post’ where you vote for one candidate only and the candidate with the most votes will win.
Candidates will no longer have to secure a certain number of votes; they will just have to win more votes than any other candidate.
The voting system will be changed in all elections for:
- local authority (council) mayors in England
- combined authority mayors
- Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales
- the London Mayor