Voter ID

From May 2023, electors will be required to show an acceptable form of photographic identification to receive a ballot paper to cast a vote in a polling station. This is a new requirement under the Elections Act 2022.

Which polls require photographic ID

The requirements to show photographic ID in the polling station will apply at the following polls:

  • UK Parliamentary General Elections
  • Local Elections
  • Local Referendums
  • Police and Crime Commissioner Elections
  • Combined Authority Mayor Elections
  • Recall Petitions

What happens if you don't provide acceptable photographic ID at the polling station

If you don't provide acceptable photographic ID at the polling station, we can't provide you with a ballot paper for you to cast your vote. We will advise you to leave the polling station and return with one of the acceptable types of photographic ID.

Types of photographic ID accepted in polling stations

  • Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state, or a Commonwealth Country
  • A driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or an EEA state
  • A biometric immigration document
  • An identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • A Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
  • A Blue Badge
  • A National Identity Card issued by an EEA state
  • An Older Person's Bus Pass
  • A Disabled Person's Bus Pass
  • An Oyster 60+ Card
  • A Freedom Pass
  • A Scottish National Entitlement Card issued in Scotland
  • A 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card issued in Wales
  • A Disabled Person's Welsh Concessionary Travel Card issued in Wales
  • A Senior SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Persons SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A War Disablement SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A 60+ SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • An Electoral Identity Card issued in Northern Ireland

You can use expired photographic ID documents as acceptable photographic ID at the polling station or signing place. This is as long as the photograph is still a good likeness of you.

Photocopies or copies of images on mobile phones or other electronic devices will not be accepted. This is because photo-editing software could be used to edit the documents and therefore could be subject to fraudulent alteration.

If you don't have an acceptable form of photographic ID

If you don't already have any of the above acceptable forms of photographic ID, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC).

A Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) is a free photographic identification document used and issued for the specific purpose to allow an elector to vote in the polling station.

The VAC cannot be used or accepted as proof of identity for any other purpose other than voting.

How to get a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC)

To get a free Voter Authority Certificate (VAC), you can apply:

  • Online on the GOV.UK website (link to follow once portal launches)
  • Complete and post a paper application with a photo enclosed (link to follow once available)
  • In person at council offices (please book an appointment using contact details at the end of this page)

We will verify your identity before issuing the VAC.

We expect that the Voter Authority Certificate Service will launch in January 2023.

The deadline for applying for a Voter Authority Certificate in Peterborough is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April 2023.

When applying for a Voter Authority Certificate, you must provide a suitable photograph:

  • Through the GOV.UK website application process (link to follow)
  • Submitted with a paper application (information to follow)

The photograph must meet the following requirements:

  • A close-up photograph of the head and shoulders
  • No items or persons in the background
  • No covering of the head unless worn for religious beliefs or medical reasons
  • In sharp focus and clear (not blurry)
  • In colour and taken against a plain, light background
  • Free from redeye, shadows and not in the reflection of windows or mirrors
  • Resemble a true likeness of the applicant without alteration

The photograph must also show the applicant:

  • Facing forwards
  • With nothing covering the face
  • Looking straight at the camera
  • With a plain facial expression
  • With eyes open and visible (e.g. no sunglasses or being covered by hair)

After verifying your identity, we will print your Voter Authority Certificate within one to two working days. We send your VAC to you via Royal Mail First Class post.

Further information

If you haven't received your Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) within 28 days of application, please contact us:

Telephone: 01733 452 249 (office hours)
Email: electoralservices@peterborough.gov.uk

Where a scheduled election is due to take place in Peterborough and you applied before the 5pm deadline six working days before poll, please contact Electoral Services immediately. We will investigate and where appropriate issue you a Temporary Voter Authority Certificate that you can use on the upcoming specified poll date.

Name change through marriage or deed poll

If your name changes through marriage or deed poll etc, you may be asked to provide additional supporting documents along with your photographic ID when you vote. These documents must provide evidence of the name change and can include:

  • Marriage certificate
  • Civil partnership certificate

Name spelt incorrectly or an alternative spelling

If the spelling of your name is spelt incorrectly or an alternative spelling is present to the one on the Electoral Register, it will be the Presiding Officer's discretion on whether they will accept the form of ID at the polling station.

Where you have lost all forms of photographic ID or VAC ahead of the 5pm deadline six working days before any scheduled poll, and you do not have any of the other forms of acceptable ID, they can reapply for a VAC.

Where you have lost, destroyed, damaged or had your photographic ID stolen and you become aware of this after the 5pm deadline six working days before poll to apply for the Voter Authority Certificate, there will be the provision for you to appoint an emergency proxy for that polling day.

Applicants who are applying for the Voter Authority Certificate will not need to reapply for a new Voter Authority Certificate if they have changed address (either within the same Local Authority or a different Local Authority) within the recommended 10 year renewal date. This is because the address of the applicant is not listed on the certificate.

If you have appointed a proxy or emergency proxy to vote on your behalf, the proxy must bring their own photographic ID to present at the polling station. They do not need to bring photographic ID of you (the elector they are voting on behalf of) they only need to bring their own ID.

If the proxy does not have a form of acceptable form of photographic ID, they can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate.

Visit our Elections page.

You are not required to show photographic ID to hand deliver a postal vote to a polling station.

Visit our Elections page.

The Voter Authority Certificate is expected to be an A4 sized paper based document which will include:

  • Full name of the applicant
  • Photograph of the applicant
  • Date of issue
  • Appropriate Identifier (generated once application has been verified comprised of 20 numbers or letters)
  • Sentence advising the certificate was issued by the Electoral Registration Officer for Peterborough City Council
  • A recommended renewal date (10 years from date of issue)
  • One or more security measures recommended by the Home Secretary.

We will still send Poll Cards to every registered elector.

As Poll Cards will list all acceptable forms of photographic ID, they will now be A4 in size and enclosed in an envelope.

Contact Electoral Services

Telephone: 01733 452 249 (office hours)
Email: electoralservices@peterborough.gov.uk