Under the Elections Act 2022, electors are required to show an acceptable form of photographic identification (ID) to receive a ballot paper to cast a vote in a polling station.
Which polls require photo ID
The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station applies at the following polls:
- UK Parliamentary General Elections
- UK Parliamentary By-Elections
- Local Elections
- Local Referendums
- Police and Crime Commissioner Elections
- Combined Authority Mayor Elections
- Recall Petitions
What happens if you don't provide acceptable photo ID at the polling station
If you don't provide acceptable photo 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 photo ID.
Types of photo 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 photo ID documents as acceptable photo 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 photo ID
If you don’t have any of the above acceptable forms of photo 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.
You only need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) if:
- You do not have accepted photo ID
- You no longer look like the photo on your ID
- The name on your photo ID is different to your name on the electoral register / poll card
If the name on your photo ID is different, you can register to vote again or take a document with you that proves you have changed your name.
The VAC cannot be used or accepted as proof of identity for any other purpose other than voting.
Apply for a Voter Authority Certificate
It is free to apply.
If you can't apply using the GOV.UK online form, they have other methods you can use.
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.
Your Poll Card shows the current name we have for you on the Electoral Register.
If you change your name through marriage or deed poll etc, you need to change your name on the Electoral Register. This is important so the details on your Poll Card are correct and that the photo ID you bring with you to vote has a matching name.
To change your name on the Electoral Register, please contact the Electoral Services Team. You need to supply a copy of a document which shows your change of name - e.g. marriage certificate.
We also undertake our Annual Canvass in August of each year. This is where we post you a form to check that the details we have for you on the Electoral Register are correct.
If you have appointed a proxy or emergency proxy to vote on your behalf, the proxy must bring their own photo ID to present at the polling station. They do not need to bring photo ID of you (the elector they are voting on behalf of) they only need to bring their own ID.
You are not required to show photo ID to hand deliver a postal vote to a polling station.
We will still send Poll Cards to every registered elector.
As Poll Cards will list all acceptable forms of photo ID, they will now be A4 in size and enclosed in an envelope.
Contact Electoral Services
Telephone: 01733 452 249 (office hours)
The Electoral Services Department
Peterborough City Council