Ahead of local elections this week, the government is reminding people to bring their photo identification with them on polling day.
Anyone voting in person in local elections taking place in England on Thursday 4 May 2023 will need an accepted form of photo identification to cast their vote.
This brings the rest of the UK in line with Northern Ireland, which has had photo identification to vote in elections since 2003, and will ensure that elections are better protected from the potential for voter fraud.
As well as learning from the experience in Northern Ireland since 2003, the Government undertook election pilots in 2018 and 2019 to trial identification. For example, in Woking which piloted photographic identification, the evaluation report found that 99.9% of voters were able to successfully vote. Both the Government and the Electoral Commission will be undertaking evaluation reports on these local elections.
The vast majority of voters already own an accepted form of identification, which includes driving licences, blue badges, NUS Totum cards and Freedom passes, as well as Voter Authority Certificates.
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said:
If you’re planning to vote in person at your local elections, you must remember to bring accepted photo identification with you to the polling station.
These changes will prevent electoral fraud and ensure elections remain free and fair.
You can use a wide range of photo identification such as a driving licence, but make sure you check eligibility before heading out to vote.
For more information please check your polling card and find more details online.
Accepted forms of photo identification and further information are available on gov.uk.
Accepted forms of identification include:
- Driving licence (including provisional licences)
- PASS card (National Proof of Age Standards Scheme – this includes the NUS Totum card, the Post Office card, Young Scot card)
- Blue Badge
- Biometric residence permit
- Defence Identity Card
- National identity cards issued by the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
- Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card
- Voter Authority Certificate
- Anonymous Elector’s Document
- Older person’s bus pass
- Disabled person’s bus pass
- Oyster 60+ card
- Freedom Pass
- Scottish National Entitlement Card
- 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
- Disabled Person’s Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
- Northern Ireland concessionary travel pass
The reforms were introduced as part of the Elections Act 2022, which will introduce a series of measures to prevent electoral fraud (including measures to tackle postal voting fraud).
The Electoral Commission, which has supported voter identification, has observed: ‘Since the introduction of photo ID in Northern Ireland there have been no reported cases of personation. Voters’ confidence that elections are well-run in Northern Ireland is consistently higher than in Great Britain, and there are virtually no allegations of electoral fraud at polling stations’ (Electoral Commission, Delivering and costing a proof of identity scheme for polling station voters in Great Britain, December 2015).