Elections Act 2022 - changes to voting in elections

Changes to voting in the May 2023 elections

The government has passed a new act called the Elections Act 2022 that will mean changes to UK elections and the way we vote.

The government will introduce the various parts of the act in stages. The following first changes will come into effect in the May 2023 local elections:

  • Voter identification
  • Accessibility at polling stations

Apply for a Voter Identification Certificate (Voter ID)

The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April 2023 to be able to vote at a polling station on 4 May 2023.

The Elections Act 2022 has introduced a new requirement for voters to show photographic identification before voting in person in a polling station. Only original documents will be accepted, scanned images or copies will not be accepted. This is to improve the security of the voting process and reduce the risk of voter fraud.

Voters can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate - a free photographic identification document specifically for the purposes of voting.

The Electoral Commission recommend voters check first to see if they have another form of photographic identification which will be accepted in polling stations – voters who already have one of these forms of identification (which includes expired identification, as long as the voter is still recognisable from the photograph) will not need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.

Please note, if you intend to vote using a postal vote, you do not need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate – identification is only required if you intend to vote in person at a polling station. If you are registered as a postal voter and wish instead to vote in person, you will need to cancel your postal vote before you can vote in person at a polling station.

The following forms of photo ID can be accepted at polling stations:

  • Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, a European Economic Area (EEA) or a Commonwealth country
  • Photographic driver’s licence (including provisional), issued by the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state
  • EEA photographic ID Card
  • UK Biometric Residence Permit
  • An identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (PASS card)
  • Blue Badge
  • Oyster 60+ Card
  • Concessionary travel pass funded by HM Government or local authority, such as an older person's bus pass, disabled person's bus pass, or a Welsh or Northern Ireland travel card
  • Defence identity card
  • See full list of accepted photographic ID

You can apply for a VAC online now. You can also apply for a VAC by post.

If you still have questions about voter identification, you can call the Electoral Commission Helpline on 0800 328 0280 or visit the Electoral Commission website

Apply for your photo ID (a free Voter Authority Certificate)

Postal voters applying for Voter Authority Certificates (Voter ID)

If you intend to vote using a postal vote, you do not need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate – identification is only required if you intend to vote in person at a polling station.

If you're registered as a postal voter and wish instead to vote in person, you'll need to cancel your postal vote before you can vote in person at a polling station.

Accessibility at polling stations

Changes to accessibility at polling stations are as follows:

  • Additional support provided to voters with disabilities at polling stations
  • Voters with a disability can be assisted by anyone over the age of 18 inside a polling station to help them vote