Under four weeks left to apply for free voter ID

Date published: 30 March 2024

Voters without ID have less than four weeks left to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate, before the local council election and Mayor of Greater Manchester election in May.

The Electoral Commission is calling on anyone that needs free ID to apply now, before the deadline of 5pm on Wednesday 24 April.

The Voter Authority Certificate is a free form of ID available to anyone who doesn’t already have an accepted form of voter ID, such as a passport, driving licence or an older person’s or disabled person’s bus pass.

The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station was introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act which was passed in 2022 and came into effect for the first time in May last year.

New research from the Electoral Commission shows that 27% of people still don’t know they can apply for the free ID.

The research also shows that 78% of people now know they need to bring photo ID to vote in a polling station, compared to 76% at the same time before last year’s local elections.

Applications can be submitted online at gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate, or by completing a paper form and sending this to Rochdale Council’s electoral services team.

Voters will need to provide a photo, their full name, date of birth, the address at which they are registered to vote and their National Insurance number.

Applicants must be registered to vote before applying. The registration deadline is midnight on 16 April, and the easiest way to register to vote in person, by post or by proxy is at www.rochdale.gov.uk/RegisterToVote.

Jackie Killeen, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission said: “Voters will be required to show photo ID at polling stations at the May elections, but we know not everyone has ID they can take with them. Our research shows that disabled voters, people who are unemployed and young people may find it harder to meet this new requirement.

"Anyone who doesn’t currently have the ID they need, can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate, but they must apply before the deadline so that they can cast their vote in May. That date is fast approaching so don’t delay.”

More information:

Types of photo ID accepted at polling stations and how to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate or Anonymous Elector’s Document - www.rochdale.gov.uk/elections-voting/elections-act-2022-changes-voting-elections

Register to vote before midnight on 16 April - www.rochdale.gov.uk/RegisterToVote

Different ways you can vote - www.rochdale.gov.uk/elections-voting/voting-how-to-vote

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