Home Black, Minority, Ethnic What photo ID do you need to vote in local elections?

What photo ID do you need to vote in local elections?

by Editor

A graphic showing a hand holding a photo ID cardImage source, AFP

People will need to show photo ID at polling stations before they vote in the local elections on Thursday 2 May.

Thousands of people were unable to vote in the 2023 local elections because they did not have the correct ID.

What elections are taking place on Thursday 2 May?

Elections are taking place in 107 local authorities across England.

No elections are being held in Scotland or Northern Ireland.

What are the voter ID rules?

Since May 2023, voters have had to show an accepted form of photo ID at polling stations to vote in person at most elections.

  • all local elections in England, including those for mayors and the London Assembly
  • all local referendums and parliamentary by-elections in England
  • police and crime commissioner elections in England and Wales
  • UK general elections

There is no need to show ID if voting:

  • by post
  • for the Scottish or Welsh Parliament
  • in local elections in Scotland or Wales

Voters in Northern Ireland have had to show photo ID since 2003.

What documents can you use as photo ID?

  • passports
  • driving licences
  • Older or Disabled Person’s bus passes
  • Oyster 60+ cards

You can use out-of-date photo ID as long as you look the same.

What if I don’t have an acceptable form of ID?

You can exchange a paper driving licence for a photocard, or apply for a photocard travel pass if you’re aged 60 or over, disabled, or registered blind or partially sighted.

The deadline to apply for a certificate before the May 2024 local elections has passed.

Why do voters need photo ID?

The government said it would stop votes being stolen, although this is quite unusual in the UK.

Of these, 10 led to convictions and the police issued four cautions. Most resulted in the police taking no further action.

A total of 342 cases of alleged electoral fraud were investigated by the police during 2023. One case resulted in a conviction last year.

The commission said in the past five years there had been “no evidence of large-scale electoral fraud”, although some Conservative MPs claim the statistics underplay the issue.

What if voters cannot show the correct ID at the polling station?

Polling station staff have a legal duty to record the number of people that cannot be issued with a ballot paper because they do not have valid ID.

This includes the number of people who are turned away and later return to the polling station with the correct documentation.

But the true figure could be higher because some might have left after reading the ID requirements, without being formally recorded, the Electoral Commission said.

The watchdog’s research indicated 90% of voters at the May 2023 elections had been “satisfied with the process of voting”.

However, it said that unemployed voters and those belonging to ethnic minorities were more likely to have been turned away.

Are there concerns about photo ID at the general election?

Electoral administrators surveyed by the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) warned they would have too few staff to check valid ID and produce Voter Authority Certificates.

The Local Government Association warned that council election teams relied on help from areas without elections in May 2023. It said this would not be possible at a general election, when votes are held in every constituency.

In a separate report, the Electoral Commission called on the government to expand the list of accepted ID.

It also suggested allowing voters to cast their ballot without ID if another registered voter could vouch for their identity.

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