Make sure you’re ready to vote ahead of May local elections
Date published: 21 February 2023
The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station was introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act which was passed last year and comes into effect for the first time this May
With local elections taking place on Thursday 4 May, Rochdale Borough Council is reminding residents they’ll need to show photographic ID to vote at a polling station and to apply for free ID now if they need it.
Everyone is urged to make sure they are ready by checking they have an accepted form of ID. Accepted ID includes a passport, driver’s licence, blue badge and some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person’s bus pass. You can use expired ID if you’re still recognisable from the photo.
You can also apply for photo ID in person by visiting customer services at Number One Riverside in Rochdale, open 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Staff will help you with completing the online form, taking your photograph and submitting your application, all free of charge.
Households are being sent a letter this month informing them about the changes to the local elections and how to apply for a postal vote, as if you vote by post, you’ll be able to vote in the same way and additional ID won’t be required.
So far over 150 residents have applied for free voter ID (the voter authority certificate) and council elections manager Clare Poole said she is expecting this to significantly increase in the coming weeks: “Tuesday 25 April is the deadline to apply for photo ID but we’re asking anyone who doesn’t have photo ID to apply in good time and not risk losing their vote in May. If you’re voting in a polling station it’s important to bring an accepted form of ID otherwise you won’t be issued with a ballot paper. Alternatively you can apply to vote by post, where photo ID isn’t required, but you’ll need to apply for a postal vote by 18 April if you don’t already have one. And please let us know if you intend to visit a polling station and have a specific accessibility requirement so we can ensure your needs are met.”
The UK Government’s Elections Act, which comes into effect for the first time this May also means additional measures are being put in place at polling stations to make the voting process more accessible, including assistance for disabled voters.
Key dates to remember:
- Deadline to register to vote, Monday 17 April 2023
- Deadline to apply or change a postal vote, 5pm on Tuesday 18 April 2023
- Deadline to apply for a free photo ID (Voter Authority Certificate), 5pm on Tuesday 25 April 2023
- Deadline to apply for a proxy vote, 5pm on Tuesday 25 April 2023
“Local elections are a chance to have your say on who represents you on the council and the power of democracy shouldn’t be underestimated. We’re doing all we can to encourage residents to vote, working to ensure people are aware of the changes, understand which forms of ID are accepted and for those without, how to apply for free voter ID. We’re providing support in person too as we appreciate that not everyone will be able to apply online. So if you need any help with applying visit www.rochdale.gov.uk/elections, phone us on 0300 3030345 or call in and see us at Number One Riverside in Rochdale,” added Clare.
Contact the Electoral Commission if you’ve any questions about photo ID. Phone 0800 328 0280 or visit their website.
You need to be registered to vote in order to apply for free ID – register online on the council website.
Visit www.rochdale.gov.uk/elections to find out more about voting in the local elections, postal voting and everything else you need to know. If you have any questions you can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
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