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The rules for voting in the UK are changing

The UK is about to experience a significant change in how to vote at both general and local elections.

Anyone who wants to vote in person at a local polling station will need ID from the following dates:

  • England – General Elections from October 2023 and all other elections from May 2023
  • Wales – General Elections and Police & Crime Commissioner elections only
  • Scotland – General Elections only currently, but has yet to make a final decision on whether to bring in voter ID for all elections.

What ID is acceptable?

Is this requirement likely to affect your senior members of the family or friends? Possibly, if they don’t have any of the following:

  • Passport – great if they have one, but could be tricky if they want to apply for a renewal as the process is lengthy at the moment
  • Photographic driving license – many older people may not have needed to replace their original licences with photographic versions
  • Disabled Blue Badge – again, a slow process to apply for one
  • Senior travel cards – excellent idea but many people are waiting for the railways to get beyond industrial action before applying or renewing

You can see a full list of valid forms of ID on the Government’s website.

Applying for a postal vote

Not all is lost if your relative doesn’t have the right form of ID but wants to vote.

Many people are opting for postal votes. They are more convenient as you can vote in a given period before the election takes place, and you only have to get to a postbox rather than a polling station. You don’t need ID for a postal vote.

The government website offers more information about applying for postal votes in England, Wales and Scotland. The deadline for applying for a postal vote is 5pm on 18th April.

The Voter Authority Certificate

There is one other option.

For those who don’t have the right ID and don’t want to apply for a postal vote, there is the Voter Authority Certificate.

This is a free service, but the applicant will need a recent digital photo and a national insurance number.

Also it looks like demand for VACs is very high, so it’s going to be important to apply as soon as possible. The deadline is 5pm on 25 April.


Photo by Elliott Stallion on Unsplash

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