The Elections Act, which received Royal Assent on 28th April 2022, has introduced new rules, including the requirement for voters to show ID at polling stations before being issued a ballot paper.
To accommodate these changes, various forms of photographic ID are now accepted, including UK passports, driving licences, and national identity cards issued by EEA states.
Expired photo ID can be used as long as the photograph remains a good likeness of the elector. If an elector’s name has changed and does not match their ID, they will be asked to provide evidence of this change, such as a marriage certificate or deed poll.
The Government and Cabinet Office estimate that between 2 per cent and 6 per cent of voters will not have a suitable form of ID. In Herefordshire, this could amount to 2,940 to 8,820 electors. To ensure that these individuals can vote, Electoral Registration Officers will issue free ‘Voter Authority Certificates’ to electors who do not possess any of the acceptable ID. The deadline to apply for a voter authority certificate is 5 pm on Tuesday, 25th April 2023.
The Electoral Services team has employed additional polling station staff to assist with the new photo ID requirements. These staff members will receive training and be available to provide support for those with disabilities, ensuring that all polling stations are fully accessible.
The Electoral Commission will run a national campaign to communicate the new ID requirements to electors. The campaign will be complemented by local efforts, including social media and press releases, as well as notification letters and poll cards sent to each household.
In addition to the new voter ID requirements, other provisions of the Elections Act 2022 relevant to the May elections include: ensuring Returning Officers take all reasonable steps to provide support for those with disabilities in polling stations; and reducing the number of subscribers required on ward nomination papers.