Rochdale by-election: Residents prepare to cast their vote

Date published: 28 February 2024

Polling stations will open at 7am tomorrow morning (Thursday 29 February) for residents in the Rochdale constituency to vote for their new MP following the death of Sir Tony Lloyd.

Polls will close at 10pm and the count will be held overnight with the result to be announced in the early hours of Friday morning.

There are eleven candidates standing in the by-election:

  • Azhar Ali – Labour (no longer endorsed)
  • Mark Coleman – Independent
  • Simon Danczuk – Reform UK
  • Iain Donaldson – Liberal Democrat
  • Paul Ellison – Conservative
  • George Galloway – Workers Party of Britain
  • Michael Howarth – Independent
  • William Howarth – Independent
  • Guy Otten – Green Party (no longer endorsed)
  • Ravin Rodent Subortna – Official Monster Raving Loony Party
  • David Tully – Independent

Following ‘deeply offensive’ comments made by Azhar Ali about Israel at a meeting last year came to light, the Labour Party revoked its support and former Green Party candidate Guy Otten effectively pulled out of the race following ‘regrettable’ social media posts ‘a number of years ago’. They will both still appear on the ballot.


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. The Electoral Commission are running a national campaign to tell people about the change.


If you are planning to vote at a polling station, you will need to show photographic ID. You can use expired ID if you are still recognisable from the photo, but if you turn up without photo ID, you will not be able to vote.

The following forms of photo ID will be accepted at polling stations:

  • Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country (including an Irish Passport Card)
  • Photographic driver’s licence (including provisional), issued by the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state (this includes a provisional driving licence)
  • National identity card issued by an EEA state
  • UK Biometric Residence Permit
  • An identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (PASS card)
  • Blue Badge
  • Concessionary travel pass funded by HM Government or local authority, such as an older person's bus pass or a disabled person's bus pass
  • Defence identity card

Get the full list of accepted ID at

Everyone registered to vote has been sent a polling card containing details of their local polling station and when they can vote. There are 82,615 registered voters in the constituency and 21,810 postal votes have been issued.

Polling stations will be open from 7am until 10pm. Staff will take names and addresses to check whether people are on the register and check photo ID before voters are given a ballot paper. Voting booths ensure votes are cast in private. Staff will be on hand at the polling stations to assist if you need any help.

Anyone who has a medical emergency or suddenly cannot go to the polling station due to work commitments has up to 5pm on polling day to apply for an emergency proxy vote. This allows them to nominate someone they trust to vote on their behalf.

Postal votes can be delivered in person to Number One Riverside, Smith Street, Rochdale, or your polling station up until 10pm on Thursday 29 February when polls close.


Elections manager Clare Poole from Rochdale Borough Council is reminding residents to bring photo ID to vote at a polling station
Elections manager Clare Poole reminds residents to bring photo ID to vote at a polling station


Clare Poole, elections manager said: “Having to show photo ID at a polling station is a significant change. Previously electors needed only to verbally confirm their name and address in order to cast a ballot. So before you head to the polling station, don’t forget to check your bag, wallet, or pocket to make sure you have the ID you need to vote.”

The UK Government’s Elections Act, which comes into effect for the first time, also means additional measures are being put in place at polling stations to make the voting process more accessible, including assistance for disabled voters.

“Polling station staff will be on hand to make sure voting in person will still be quick and easy. 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 handle requests for ID to be checked in private, discreetly and with courtesy” Clare added.


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