Photo ID and changes to voting in elections

Voter ID

Applications for a Voter Authority Certificate or Anonymous Elector’s Document valid for the by-election on Thursday, 29 February 2024 must reach the Electoral Registration Officer at Number One Riverside, Smith Street, Rochdale, OL16 1XU by 5pm on Wednesday, 21 February 2024.

According to the government photo ID is required to improve the security of the voting process and reduce the risk of voter fraud

A wide range of forms of photo ID will be accepted when voting at a polling station.

You will only need to show one form of photo ID, but it needs to be the original version and not a photocopy. Digital forms of ID will not be accepted. 

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

The name on your photo ID should be the same name you used to register to vote. You do not need to show photo ID that includes a gender mark. 

If you have a form of accepted photo ID which has expired or is out of date, you can still use it to vote at a polling station if it is still a good enough likeness for staff at the polling station to be able to identify you. 

Apply for Voter ID if you don't have an accepted form of voter ID

The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate to use at a particular election is 5pm, 6 working days before the date of that election. 

If you want to vote at a polling station but don't have an accepted form of photo ID, you should apply or 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 that 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:

If you have a medical emergency, are away for work, or your photo ID is lost, stolen, destroyed, or damaged, you can apply for an emergency proxy vote up to 5pm on polling day.

You can apply for a VAC online or by post.

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

What will happen if you go to the polling station with no accepted identification?

If you turn up to vote at a polling station with no accepted photo identification, you will not be issued with a ballot paper and will need to return with an accepted form of photo identification.

What if you don't want to show ID to vote?

If you prefer not to show your ID at a polling station, you can apply to vote by post or proxy. Photo ID isn’t required to apply or vote by post or proxy. Though, your proxy will be required to show their photo ID at the polling station.

How to apply for a proxy vote | How to apply for a postal vote

How does voter ID impact voting by post or proxy?

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

You will not need to show photo ID to apply to vote by post or proxy. Although the proxy will need to show their photo ID at the 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.

More about postal voting | More about proxy voting

Accessible voter ID information guides

Find out how to get help or access relevant guides to help you vote. The information contains guides in easy read, British Sign Language (BSL), plain text, audio and Braille. Guides are also available for groups who are less likely to have an accepted form of ID such as Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, older people, people experiencing homelessness, anonymous voters and trans and non-binary people. 

How to get help with applying for a Voter Identification Certificate (voter ID)

The Electoral Commission has created resources to help people who are likely to need support with voter ID. If you have questions about voter identification or would like information about voter ID in other languages, you can:

We can also help you take your photograph, complete the online form and submit your application for voter ID.

  1. Visit the reception desk at Number One Riverside, between 9am-4pm, Monday-Friday. How to get to Number One Riverside
  2. You'll need to know your National Insurance number or bring other documents to prove your identity, for example, a birth certificate, bank statement and utility bill.

Help with voting 

Find out how to get help with guides and support for people with disabilities, accessible voting ID, access at polling stations or anything else to do with the next election.