RESIDENTS SHOULD NOT leave it too late to make sure they have the required ID to vote in the upcoming local elections, the Local Government Association (LGA) has urged. 

Over 230 councils in England have elections this May, with around two thirds of the country going to the polls, and it will be the first time that photo ID is required for all voters at all local elections.

Joining forces with the Electoral Commission, councils are urging people to check if they have a photo ID well ahead of time so they do not miss out on their chance to participate in local elections.

Approved ID includes:

  • Passports issued by the UK government.
  • Driving licences issued by the UK, including provisional driving licences
  • A Blue Badge
  • Some Older Person Bus Passes
  • Any Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram card, including the NUS TOTUM+
  • Biometric immigration document or card
  • National identity card issued by an European Economic Area state

Out of date ID is acceptable as long as it still looks like the voter and the name on the ID is the same as on the register. (For full details of acceptable ID see link below.)

Voters will need to bring their ID to be able to vote in local elections, due to be held on Thursday 4 May. If voters do not have these forms of ID, they are encouraged to apply for free for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC).

Voters can do this online or in person at their local council offices before 5pm on 25 April. Councils are encouraging voters to apply for these as soon as possible if they are registered to vote but are worried they do not currently have an ID.

Professionals working with vulnerable adults are also being encouraged to familiarise themselves and highlight the new requirements to adults who are less likely to have approved ID before the deadline.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, is also urging people to treat local polling station staff with patience and respect as they implement the new changes.

Cllr Kevin Bentley, Chairman of the LGA’s People and Places Board said: “Voting in a local election is really important in setting the future direction of your local community. However, we want to make sure that no one misses out on their chance to vote next month. As voters across the country receive their poll cards, make sure you check that you have approved ID and bring this to your local polling station when you vote. If you don’t have approved ID, apply for a free voter authority certificate online on the Government website or in person from your local council.

“Councils will be working around the clock to process voter authority certificate applications and ensure the election day goes smoothly. We’d urge people to treat all polling station staff with respect and patience as these new changes are implemented.”

Craig Westwood, Director of Communications at the Electoral Commission, said: “The elections are fast approaching so we are encouraging voters to get ready. Everyone needs to be registered to vote and those going to a polling station will need to show their photographic ID.

“There is a range of accepted forms of ID that can be used, and the free ID is available for anyone that does not have an existing one. Applications for that must be in before 5pm on 25 April.

“If a voter has concerns about showing their face at a polling station, because they wear a face covering for example, they can ask to have their ID checked in private. They won’t need to give a reason for their request or explain why they’d prefer privacy. Staff will be trained to handle requests for ID to be checked in private, discreetly and with courtesy.”

* Apply for photo ID to vote (called a ‘Voter Authority Certificate’) here.

* More information and a comprehensive list of acceptable ID here.

* Source: Local Government Association