Forest of Dean District residents will need photo ID to vote at local elections on 4 May
For the first time, residents in Forest of Dean District will need to show photographic ID to vote in person at this year’s local elections which are being held on 4 May.
Residents are being urged to make sure they are ready to vote in May by checking they have an accepted form of ID.
Accepted forms of ID include a UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport; a UK or EEA drivers’ licence; and some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person’s bus pass. Voters will be able to use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo and the name on the ID should be the same name as appears on the Electoral Register.
Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of ID will be able to apply for free ID online at voter-authority-certificate.service.gov.uk/ or by completing a paper form which is available from the Council.
More information is available on the Forest of Dean District Council website, including details of how to apply for the free ID. Anyone not able to visit the Council website, or apply for a Voter Authority Certificate online, is being encouraged to contact the Council by calling 01594 812638 or emailing [email protected]
Andrew Knott, Returning Officer for Forest of Dean District Council, said:
“Anyone voting at a polling station in England this May will need to show photo ID before they can be given their ballot paper. It’s important that everyone understands what types of ID they can use, and how to apply for free ID if they need it.
“With elections taking place in the Forest of Dean District on 4 May 2023, it is important that those who want to vote make sure they are registered to vote and have an accepted form of ID. It may seem early but checking now means you will be ready to vote in May.
“Residents who do not have one of the accepted forms of ID can apply for free ID either online or by completing a paper application form which is available at our offices or by calling us at 01594 812638. If you need any help with applying for the free ID or want to request an application form, contact our electoral services team at the number above.”
Anyone who wants to have their say in the elections this May must also be registered to vote. If you aren't already registered it only takes five minutes to register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Voters wishing to apply to their council for free ID should first make sure they are registered to vote.
The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station, is a new requirement, introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act which was passed last year and comes into effect for the first time this May.
The changes do not affect postal votes, but do affect proxy voters who will be required to show their own valid ID when voting on behalf of someone else.
Forest of Dean Communications Team
Notes to editors
- The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station is a new requirement, introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act which was passed last year.
- The legislation requires voters at polling stations to show an accepted form of photo ID before they receive their ballot paper. From May, voters will need to show photo ID before voting in local council elections in England, parliamentary by-elections, and police and crime commissioner elections in England and Wales. From October 2023, photo ID will be needed at UK parliamentary general elections. It will not be a requirement at local elections in Scotland or Wales, or elections to Scottish Parliament or Senedd. The requirement already exists in Northern Ireland.
- Applications for the free ID available, called the Voter Authority Certificate, are now open.
- To apply for the Voter Authority Certificate, voters will need to provide a photo, full name, date of birth, the address at which they are registered to vote and their National Insurance number.
- The UK Government’s Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities is responsible for the new voter ID policy and for the free voter ID application system. Enquiries relating to the application system or the policy itself should be directed to the Department.
- The Electoral Commission is responsible for ensuring voters are aware of the new voter ID requirement, and for supporting local authorities with the process. Questions related to the public awareness campaign should be directed to the Electoral Commission. Forest of Dean District Council will be supporting this campaign at a local level
- Local authorities are responsible for implementing voter ID at the local level.