Voter ID at polling stations
Bring photo ID to vote for future elections
The UK Government has introduced a requirement for voters to show photo ID when voting at a polling station.
This will apply at:
- UK parliamentary by-elections
- Recall petitions
- Police and Crime Commissioner elections
- Local government elections in England
What you need to bring with you to vote
Voters must bring an acceptable form of photo ID to their polling station. Some of the most commonly used ID includes:
- Passport – must be issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
- Photo driver's licence (including provisional) – must be issued by the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state
- European Economic Area (EEA) photographic ID Card
- UK Biometric Residence Permit
- An identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (PASS card)
- Defence identity card (Ministry of Defence Form 90)
- Blue Badge
- Oyster 60+ Card
- A concessionary travel pass funded by HM Government or local authority. For example, Herefordshire Council Bus Pass, Disabled Person's Bus Pass
If you have a form of acceptable photo ID but it is out of date, you can still use it to vote at a polling station if it still looks like you.
You will only need to show ONE form of photo ID, but it has to look like you and be the original version and not a photocopy.
If you don't have any acceptable form of photo ID you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate
If you don't already have an accepted form of photo ID, or you're not sure whether your photo ID still looks like you, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate.
You can apply for this online.
If you need any help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate or want to request a paper application form, email email@example.com
Voters who do not produce a Voter Authority Certificate, or a form of acceptable photo ID will not be allowed to vote on polling day.
If you are unable to complete the online form you can download and complete a paper application:
- Voter Authority Certificate application form
- Voter Authority Certificate easy read application form
- Voter Authority Certificate large print application form
Send your completed form and the required documents to: Electoral Services Office, Blueschool House, Blueschool Street, Hereford HR1 2LX.
Tips to make sure your photo is accepted
To apply for your voter ID you'll need to enclose a recent photo. Watch our top tips for getting your picture perfect first time.
Frequently asked questions
The Voter Authority Certificate will be an A4 paper document displaying only the voter's name, photograph, date of issue, issuing local authority, an 'identifier' (an alphanumerical reference), and a recommended renewal date. The deadline for applications for Voter Authority Certificates will be 5pm, six working days ahead of a poll.
Can I get a Voter Authority Certificate on polling day?
No. Applications for a Voter Authority Certificate will not be accepted after 5pm, six working days ahead of a poll. So that it is received in time, please complete your Voter Authority Certificate application as soon as possible.
What if I lose my Voter Authority Certificate?
We recommend you keep your Voter Authority Certificate as safe as you would any other form of official identification. However, if you lose your certificate please call the Electoral Services Office on 01432 260107.
I have not received my Voter Authority Certificate
If you have not received your Voter Authority Certificate within 28 days of application or if you have applied by the deadline and not yet received it, you should contact the Electoral Services Office. We will be able to issue a temporary Voter Authorisation Certificate, valid only for the specific polling day, which you will need to collect in person from the council offices (unless an alternative is agreed and arranged). We will notify you where and when you can collect the temporary Voter Authority Certificate. This option will be available from 5pm, six working days before polling day, and up to 5pm on polling day.
I cannot access the internet or complete the form online, how else can I get a Voter Authority Certificate?
If you or someone you know cannot access the internet to apply online, please call us on 01432 260107 and we will see how we can best assist you.
If you need an application for a Voter Authority Certificate in another language, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your requirements and we will send you an application in the post.
How long will my Voter Authority Certificate last?
Voter Authority Certificates are designed for use at polling stations only, but they will be valid at any polling station in Great Britain. They do not expire, but voters should remember to reapply with a new picture if the image on the certificate stops being a good likeness. The indicative timeframe for this is 10 years.
What can I expect when attending a polling station to vote in person?
You will go to the desk and tell the staff your name and address. They will ask you to provide your photographic identification. They will then give you your ballot papers. Take your ballot papers to a voting booth. Read the instructions in the booth and mark your ballot paper(s). Fold them once so that nobody can see how you have voted. Then put your folded ballot paper(s) into the appropriate ballot box(es).
I have appointed a proxy to vote on my behalf at the polling station. How does this work with regard to voter ID?
If you choose to vote by proxy then the person who you have trusted to vote on your behalf will have to take their own photo ID to the polling station to be issued with a ballot paper.
If I am proxy voting on someone else's behalf, whose ID do I bring?
You bring your own photo ID.
I am registered as an anonymous elector. How does this work?
If you're registered to vote anonymously and want to vote in person, you'll need to apply for an Anonymous Elector's Document.
Alternatively, please call us on 01432 260107 and we will see how we can best assist you.
I am a postal or a postal proxy voter. Do I need to show ID?
Postal voters and postal proxy voters will not be affected by voter ID and will be issued with their postal ballot papers as usual.
What if I go to the polling station with no accepted identification?
If you turn up 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 before 10pm on polling day.
I don't want to show ID to vote. What are my options?
If you would prefer not to show ID at a polling station, you can apply to vote by post or apply to vote by proxy. Photo ID isn't required to apply or vote by post or proxy. Though, if you choose to appoint a proxy (someone to vote on your behalf), your proxy will be required to show their photo ID at the polling station.
My photo ID doesn't look like me anymore.
If you look different on your ID it would be wise to request a Voter Authority Certificate (by 5pm, six working days ahead of a poll) to verify your identity.
Can I use my poll card as ID?
No, your poll card cannot be used as ID, it must be an approved form of photographic ID.
What happens if my name is different on my photo ID to the electoral register?
If your name has changed and is different on your ID to how it is shown on the electoral register you will be asked to provide some evidence of your name change at the polling station. This could be something like copy of a deed poll or marriage certificate. Slight variations may be accepted such as Sue and Susan, but if you are in any doubt about whether your identification will be accepted, please talk to a member of the Electoral Services Office for clarification on 01432 260107.
Can I bring a photocopy or photograph of my ID on my phone
No. The ID you bring must be the original. No copies or electronic versions will be accepted.
Can I use an expired form of photo ID?
Yes, as long as the photo is still a good likeness.
Does it matter that my photo ID shows the wrong address?
No. You can use it as long as the photo is still a good likeness. The photo ID is to check your identity not your address.
What if I forget or lose my ID on the day?
Apart from Voter Authority Certificate holders, all other electors will have to leave the polling station to find their ID or get another form of ID. If you do not have anything else to prove your identity you will be unable to vote.
Can I request that my identity be checked in private?
Yes. All polling stations will have procedures in place for electors who wish to have their identity checked in private.
Can I request that my ID is checked by a specific gender poll clerk?
It is not a mandatory requirement for Returning Officers to provide a specific gender poll clerk in polling stations. However, you may wish to request a specific gender poll clerk to view your photo ID and this request will be met if that specific gender poll clerk is available.
Will voter ID disenfranchise people?
We believe voter ID will help build public confidence in voting. We want voters to be able to apply for a free Authority Voting Certificate as in Northern Ireland, and we have found little evidence that this presents difficulties for people in terms of accessibility.
Why are some photographic IDs not being accepted as voter ID?
Some forms of photographic identification were ruled out as acceptable voter ID because they did not satisfy the criteria for security. For example, work and student passes and some railcards, such as the 18+ Oyster card. This is because they do not have sufficiently secure application processes compared to other IDs, such as the 60+ Oyster card, which has a more rigorous process. However, NUS Totum+ student card is being accepted and any accredited PASS card bearing the PASS hologram are acceptable.
In addition, photocopies or pictures of identification saved on mobile phones will not be accepted as they are not the original 'document' as set out by the law, and as photo-editing software could be used to edit them with ease.
If I know the polling station staff, do I really have to show them my photo ID?
It is now a legal requirement to bring a form of photo identification to be issued a ballot paper. Polling staff will not be able to issue the ballot without first assessing identity using one of the prescribed forms of identification.
Find out more about voter ID on the The Electoral Commission website or phone their helpline on 0800 328 0280.