Voter ID at elections

From 4 May 2023 elections, all electors voting in a polling station will need to show photo identification (ID) before they can vote.

Voters will need to show one of the photo IDs from the list below. Without showing one of these a voter won’t be issued a ballot paper. Only ID from the list will be accepted. Expired photo ID can still be used if the photo remains a good likeness of the voter, but it needs to be the original version and not a photocopy or scanned image on a mobile device.

If you or someone you know doesn’t have one of the accepted ID available to use, then you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate to use as your photo ID at the election instead. There is more information on our Voter Authority Certificate page.

The requirement to have photographic ID only affects people voting in person at a polling station. It does not affect postal voters who have their identification verified by their signatures and date of births.

List of photo IDs you can use

When you go to vote from 4 May you’ll need to bring one type of photo ID to the polling station.

  • UK passport
  • Passport for a Commonwealth country or a European Economic Area (EEA) state – please see GOV.UK for a list of all countries in these groups
  • Photocard driving licence (including a provisional licence)
  • Photocard driving license from Channel Islands, Isle of Man or EEA state
  • Proof of Age (PASS) Card
  • Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card – MOD90)
  • Blue Badge scheme photocard parking permit
  • Electoral Identity Card: Northern Ireland
  • EEA state national identity card which bears a photograph of the voter
  • Biometric immigration document issued in the United Kingdom.
  • 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 Person’s 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
  • Voter Authority Certificate (for those without other photo ID) – Find out more on the Voter Authority Certificate page
  • Anonymous Elector Document – contact the Elections Team for more information
accordion | Voter ID at elections FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What will happen on polling day from 4 May 2023 onwards?

Your poll card will advise you which polling station you should go to cast your vote, on polling day, between 7am and 10pm.

Because of the need to check ID, you should anticipate the process of receiving your ballot paper taking a little longer than usual and the possibility of short queues forming at busy times.

No details will be taken from the ID you use.

What if I don't have any of the photo IDs listed?

The Voter Authority Certificate is a new free voter photo document. Apply for a Voter Authority Certificate 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 significantly different to your name on the electoral register

The certificate will show an elector’s name and photograph, the date of issue, the issuing local authority, an appropriate identifier, and a recommended renewal date of 10 years from issue.

There is an application to complete, and you will need to provide a recent photo of yourself as part of the application.

More information is available on our Voter Authority Certificate page.

Can I show a copy of my ID on my phone or other electronic device?

No, only original documents will be accepted.

Scanned images or copies will not be accepted.

Can I bring a photocopy of my ID?

No, only original documents will be accepted.

Scanned images or copies will not be accepted.

What about postal voters?

If you choose to vote by post nothing will change. Voter ID has no impact on postal voting, only voting at polling stations. You won’t need to present any ID as your identification is verified by your signature and date of birth.

More information about postal voting is available on our Postal voting page.

Can I use my poll card as ID?

No, your poll card will not be accepted as a form of ID as the ID must be photographic.

If you do not have any of the photo ID available, then please apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.

What will my ID be used for?

Your ID will be used to make sure you are who you say you are by checking the photo matches the person presenting themselves at the polling station.

We don’t take copies of ID – it is purely for proof on polling day.

My name is different on my ID to the electoral register, what should I do?

An elector will need to present photo identification matching the name registered on the Electoral Register. Changes of names for existing electors can be made online at GOV.UK or by contacting our Elections team at 01427 676576.

Does my address need to be the same on my ID as on the electoral register?

As long as the photo is a true likeness the address shown does not need to match (as the ID is to check your identity, not your address).

Can I use an expired photo driving licence or passport?

Yes, if the photo is still a good likeness to prove your identity.

What if my appearance has changed on my photo ID?

The photo ID needs to have a true likeness to your current appearance to prove your identity. If you do not have any of the photo ID options with an up-to-date photo, then you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.

What happens if I forget my ID on polling day?

If you forget your photo ID on polling day or do not take an accepted ID, you can go home to collect some and return to your polling station anytime until 10pm that same day.

If you cannot show any of the accepted forms of ID on polling day and do not apply or are not eligible for an emergency proxy, you will be unable to vote at the election.

Is it going to take longer to vote at the polling station?

It could take a little longer than usual because of the need to check ID. There could be the possibility of short queues forming at busy times.

Will ID need to be shown at all elections?

Yes, the requirement to show a form of identification at a polling station has now become law through the Elections Act 2022. Identification will be required to be shown at all future local elections and any general election held after 5 October 2023.

I would like my identity checked in private, is this possible?

Yes, once you have stated your name and address upon arrival, we will have an area for electors who request to have their identity checked in private. Most polling stations will have male and female staff on hand.

What about voting by proxy?

In some cases, people plan for someone else to vote on their behalf, by proxy. If you have nominated someone to vote for you by proxy, the person you have nominated will need to take their own ID to prove who they are. They do not need to take ID for the elector that they are proxy for.

The polling station will have a record of their name, and the person they’re voting for if you have applied to vote by proxy.

More information about proxy voting is available on our proxy voting page.

Some people are less likely to have ID, will they still be able to vote?

We want to make sure all eligible voters voices are heard, and it is in nobody’s interest for any elector to be left out.  We have wide-ranging plans to let everyone know about the need to bring the right type of ID and know the different options available to them if they don’t have any available.

Who is paying for this?

This new requirement is being carried out on behalf of the Government and the Government will fund the new burdens faced by local authorities because of this change.

What do i do if I’m an anonymous elector?

If you are registered as an anonymous elector on the electoral register, you will need to apply for an Anonymous Elector’s Document to use as your photo ID at the polling station you use. All anonymous electors currently on the West Lindsey register will be contacted by West Lindsey District Council to invite them to apply for this document.

The Anonymous Elector’s Document will be the only form of ID that an anonymous elector will be able to use in a polling station. This Document will show key details including a photo but will NOT show an elector’s name. There will be an identifier code used instead that relates to their place on the register. If you think you require an Anonymous Elector’s Document, please get in touch with the Elections Team directly.

Which countries are in the Commonwealth, Channel Islands, European Union (EU), and the European Economic Area (EEA)?

Please see the following links to see the list of countries in the Commonwealth, Channel Islands, European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA).