Spelthorne Residents Need Photo ID to Vote at Elections in May
19th January 2023
For the first time, residents in Spelthorne will need to show photographic ID to vote at this year’s local elections. Residents are being urged to make sure they are ready to vote in May by checking they have an accepted form of ID.
Accepted forms of ID include a UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport; a UK, EEA or Commonwealth drivers’ licence; and some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person’s bus pass or an Oyster 60+ card. Voters will be able to use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo.
Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of ID will be able to apply for free ID online at voter-authority-certificate.service.gov.uk/ or by completing a paper form.
The full list of accepted ID is available on the Electoral Commission’s website, along with more information about the new requirement and details of how to apply for the free ID, at electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID.
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.”
Daniel Mouawad, Returning Officer at Spelthorne, said: “With elections taking place in Spelthorne on 4 May 2023, it is important that those who want to vote make sure 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 Spelthorne’s electoral services team. If you need any help with applying for the free ID or want to request an application form, contact the electoral services team on 01784 444218 or email email@example.com.”
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.
All residents need to be registered to vote, if you are not it only takes five minutes to register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Voters wishing to apply to their council for free ID should first make sure they are registered to vote.
Frequently Asked Questions
From May 2023, voters across England will need to show photo ID to vote in person in a polling station, following new requirements introduced by the Elections Act. A new form of free ID, the Voter Authority Certificate, will be available for those who do not have another type of accepted ID.
This document answers frequently asked questions on how voter ID will be implemented for the first time. There is more information on the Electoral Commission’s website at electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID.
At which elections will there be a requirement to show photo ID?
From May, voters will need to show photo ID before voting in local council elections in England, police and crime commissioner elections in England and Wales, and in any parliamentary by-elections. From 5 October 2023, voters will need photo ID at UK parliamentary general elections.
It will not be required at local elections in Scotland or Wales, or elections to Scottish Parliament or Senedd. The requirement already exists in Northern Ireland.
Which forms of ID are acceptable?
Accepted forms of ID include:
- a 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, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state
- some concessionary travel pass, such as an Older Person’s Bus Pass or an Oyster 60+ card
People will be able to use expired photo ID if they are still recognisable from the photo. There is more information on the Electoral Commission’s website on all the accepted types of ID at electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID.
Why isn’t [other form of ID] accepted?
The law specifies the types of documents that are accepted forms of ID. These have been decided by the UK Government.
What will happen if a voter goes to the polling station with no accepted identification?
If a voter turns up at a polling station with no accepted photo identification, they will not be issued with a ballot paper and will need to return with an accepted form of photo identification.
What if a voter doesn’t want to show ID to vote?
If a voter would prefer not to show ID at a polling station, they can apply to vote by post or proxy. Photo ID isn’t required to apply or vote by post or proxy. Though, their proxy will be required to show their photo ID at the polling station.
For the May 2023 elections, the deadline for applying for a postal vote is 18 April 2023, and the deadline for proxy is 25 April 2023.
What are you doing about those without ID?
We are working to ensure that anyone without an accepted form of ID is aware of the free ID available and understands how to apply for it.
The Electoral Commission is running a national public awareness campaign, which we are supporting through engagement with our network of local residents, members and service users.
What will the Voter Authority Certificate/ free ID application process look like?
Voters can apply for free voter ID online at voter-authority-certificate.service.gov.uk/ or by completing and posting a paper form to their local council’s electoral services team. Some local authorities may accept applications in person. Voters will need to provide a photograph, their date of birth and National Insurance number as part of the application.
Anyone who needs voter ID to vote in the May 2023 elections, must apply by 5pm on Tuesday 25 April.
What information is included on the Voter Authority Certificate/ free ID?
The free ID will show a voter’s full name and photograph, the issuing local council, an appropriate identifier (reference including numbers and letters allocated by the council), the date of issue and a recommended renewal date.
How does this impact voting by post or proxy?
Voters will not need to show photo ID in order to apply by post or proxy. Although the proxy will need to show their photo ID at the polling station.
For the May 2023 elections, the deadline to apply for a postal vote is 18 April and the deadline for proxy is 25 April.
Will voter ID disenfranchise people?
We are working to ensure people are aware of the change, understand which forms of ID are accepted, and for those without, how and when to apply for free ID. Our aim is to support those who wish to vote to do so successfully and with confidence.