Frequenly asked questions about voter ID requirements can be found below.

Frequently asked questions:

Why has voter identification been introduced in polling stations?

We have always had a form of identity check – this is not new. What is new is the production of photographic identification as part of the ongoing developments to ensure the integrity of the election. The policy decision by Central Government flows from a manifesto pledge in the 2017 and 2019 manifestos.

What will be acceptable identification in polling stations?

A voter must present one of the following forms of photographic identification in order to vote in person at the polling station:

  • A passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, 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 (includes a provisional driving licence)
  • A biometric immigration document
  • An identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
  • A Blue Badge
  • A national identity card issued by the 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 Person's SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A War Disablement SmartPass or War Disabled SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A 60+ SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • An Electoral Identity Card issued in Northern Ireland
  • A Voter Authority Certificate or a temporary Voter Authority Certificate

Why are certain Work/Student Passes and Railcards not accepted?

Work/Student Passes: Given the wide array of professional and educational organisations that provide photographic identification, it would not be difficult to create a form of identification for a non-existent organisation meaning these would be susceptible to fraud. However, some student cards are PASS accredited, and so would be accepted (e.g. the National Union of Students ‘TOTUM’ student card). All accredited PASS cards bear the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram.

Railcards: While a Railcard is considered a concessionary travel pass, the Government does not believe this would be an appropriate form of identification as it is insufficiently secure. Similarly, the 18+ Oyster card does not have a suitably secure application process for it to be used as photographic identification at polling stations (unlike the 60+ Oyster card, which has more rigorous processes).

Will photocopies of identification documents or pictures on mobile phones of identification documents be accepted?

No, photocopies of identification documents or pictures on mobile phones of identification documents will not be accepted as photo-editing software could be used to edit them, thus making them susceptible to fraudulent alteration.

NB: Some supporting documents for a name change, such as a wedding certificate, may be ‘certified copies’ and will be accepted in polling stations for the purpose of demonstrating a name change.

My photographic identification has expired, what do I do?

If your photographic identification has expired it will still be accepted so long as the photograph is still of good likeness of you, unless it is a temporary Voter Authority Certificate which is only valid for use on polling day.

My name on the electoral register is different from the name on my photographic identification, what do I do?

The decision on whether an identification document bearing a different name or an alternative spelling of a name from the one on the register can be accepted will be at the discretion of the polling station staff, who must be satisfied that the identification provided is acceptable.

If your name has changed, for example through marriage, you may be required to provide further proof of identity, such as a marriage certificate, providing evidence of a name change.

Can I have my photographic identification viewed in private?

There will be a private area in each polling station which will allow voters wishing to have their form of identification to be viewed in private to do so. This may be achieved in a variety of ways and will depend on the room or rooms being used as polling station. For some stations, this may be achieved through the provision of privacy screens or, in others, using an existing partition or a separate room to facilitate this.

We will provide a mirror in polling stations to assist people who wear face coverings to remove them for the purposes of checking identification (and specifically to provide reassurance that they have been properly replaced following the check).

If an elector refuses to comply with the voter identification check, they will not be given a ballot paper and will not be able to vote in the polling station.

Can I have my photographic identification viewed by a specific gender poll clerk?

It is not a mandatory requirement for Returning Officer’s to provide a specific gender poll clerk in polling stations. However, you may wish to request a specific gender poll clerk to view your photographic identification and this request will be met if that specific gender poll clerk is available.

What happens if I cannot provide acceptable photographic identification at the polling station?

If you turn up to a polling station with no acceptable photographic identification, you will be advised to leave and return with appropriate identification.

If you do not provide an accepted form of identification, then there is no evidence that you are the person on the register. Therefore, it will not be appropriate for you to be issued with a tendered ballot paper.

The Presiding Officer will be responsible for making the decision to refuse to provide a ballot paper. There will be no ability for an elector to appeal the Presiding Officer’s decision on polling day.

What do I do if my identification is lost, stolen or damaged close to polling day?

In the unfortunate event that you lose all forms of identification before the deadline for applications for a Voter Authority Certificate has passed, or if your identification is stolen, destroyed or damaged beyond use, you may apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.

If you lose your identification after the deadline for applications for Voter Authority Certificate, the ERO will have the ability to allow the appointment of an emergency proxy for that polling day.

Will I have to show photographic identification to hand in a postal vote?

No. You will not need to show any form of identification in order to hand in your own or another person’s postal vote.

Will my poll card look different?

Yes. For May 2023 there will be additional information on the Poll Card regarding the new requirements and details regarding voter identification. Due to this, the Poll Card will therefore need to be bigger.

What can I expect when I attend a polling station to vote in person?

You will go to the desk and tell the staff your name and address. They will ask you to provide your photographic identification. They will then give you your ballot papers. Take your ballot papers to a voting booth. Read the instructions in the booth and mark your ballot paper(s), fold them once so that nobody can see how you have voted. Then put your folded ballot papers into the appropriate ballot box(es).

Last updated: Mon 20th February, 2023 @ 15:18