Voter ID at polling stations

You now need photo ID to vote at a polling station

Voter ID data - Thursday 4 May 2023

Data released today (12 May) by Herefordshire Council shows the number of people who brought ID to the polling station for local elections on 4 May.

The data shows that 99.8% of electors who came to vote in Herefordshire polling stations brought photo ID that met newly introduced voter ID requirements.

There were 147,552 electors across the county who were eligible to vote on 4 May, of these, 55,044 electors voted. There were 181 polling stations.

At the end of polling day, 70 electors (0.2%) who tried to vote in a polling station were not given a ballot paper because they did not meet the new voter ID requirements.

The figures also show while 118 electors were initially turned away, 48 returned with acceptable ID and were able to vote. This means 40.7% of those initially turned away returned and were issued with a ballot paper.

The overall voter turnout at the election was 37.3%.

Bring ID to vote for the next election

The UK Government has introduced a requirement for voters to show photo ID when voting at a polling station from May 2023.

This will apply at:

  • UK parliamentary by-elections
  • Recall petitions
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections
  • Local government elections in England

This will affect all voters across Herefordshire who vote in person or by proxy at the next local government elections on Thursday 4 May 2023.

Take a look at The Electoral Commission's your guide to voter ID.

What you need to bring with you on Thursday 4 May 2023

Voters must bring an acceptable form of photo ID to their polling station. Some of the most commonly used ID include:

  • 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If you have a form of acceptable photo ID but it is out of date, you can still use it to vote at a polling station if it still looks like you.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.

See the full list of acceptable ID on the Electoral Commission website

If you don't have any acceptable form of photo ID - apply for a Voter Authority Certificate

The deadline for applications for a Voter Authority Certificate to use for the 4 May 2023 elections has now passed but you can still apply for a Voter Authority Certificate to use for future elections.

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.

Apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate

See further guidance on applying for a Voter Authority Certificate

If you need any help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate or want to request a paper application form, email

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:

Send your completed form and the required documents to: Electoral Services, Town Hall, St Owen Street, Hereford HR1 2PJ.

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.

About Voter Authority Certificates

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.

You cannot get a Voter Authority Certificate on polling day

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.

If you lose your 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.

If you have not received your 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.

How to get a Voter Authority Certificate if you are unable to leave the house by yourself

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 with your requirements and we will send you an application in the post.

How long Voter Authority Certificates 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 and the indicative timeframe for this is 10 years.

What to 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 papers into the appropriate ballot box(es).

If you have appointed a proxy to vote on your behalf at the polling station

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 you are voting for someone by proxy, whose ID to bring

You bring your own photo ID.

If you are registered as an anonymous elector

If you're registered to vote anonymously and want to vote in person, you'll need to apply for an Anonymous Elector's Document.

Find out more about registering to vote anonymously and how to vote anonymously

Postal and postal proxy voters

Postal voters and postal proxy voters will not be affected by voter ID and will be issued with their postal ballot papers as usual.

If you 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.

If you don't want to show ID to vote

If you would prefer not to show 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, 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.

If your appearance has changed on your photo ID

If you look totally 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.

Your poll card cannot be used as ID

Your poll card cannot be used as ID, it must be an approved form of photographic ID.

If your name is different on your photo ID to the electoral register

If 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.

You cannot bring a photocopy or photograph of your ID

Whatever form of ID you bring must be the original, no copies or electronic versions will be accepted.

You can use an expired form of photo ID

As long as the photo is still a good likeness.

If your photo ID shows the wrong address

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.

If you forget or lose your 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.

If you would like your identity checked in private

All polling stations will have procedures in place for electors who wish to have their identity checked in private.

Requesting your photo 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 think 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 the voter is known to the polling station staff, do they have to show their 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.

Further information

Find out more about voter ID on the The Electoral Commission website or phone their helpline on 0800 328 0280.