Time to apply for free voter ID ahead of the May elections is running out. The deadline is 5pm on 25 April.
For the first time, voters will need to show photo ID to receive their ballot paper at the local elections on 4 May. Those without an accepted type of ID can apply online for a Voter Authority Certificate, at or by applying for and submitting a paper form to Cumberland Council’s electoral services team.
Applicants must be registered to vote and will need to provide their date of birth, National Insurance number and a photograph.
Those that have an accepted form of ID already do not need to apply. Accepted forms of ID include a UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport; a UK or EEA drivers’ licence; and some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person’s bus pass or an Oyster 60+ card. Voters will be able to use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo.
Ailsa Irvine, 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. The availability of free ID helps ensure elections remain accessible to all eligible voters. For those who don’t currently have the ID they need, it’s crucial they apply before the deadline so that they can take part. That date is fast approaching so don’t delay.”
Andrew Seekings, Returning Officer at Cumberland Council, said:
“As the deadline to apply for free ID looms, it is important that residents of Cumberland make sure they’re election ready. If you need any help with applying for free ID or want to request an application form, you can contact the electoral services team on 0300 373 3730.”
- Some town and parish council contested elections are taking place in Cumberland Council area on 4 May 2023. More information is on the Cumberland Council website: www.cumberland.gov.uk/voting-and-elections/parish-council-elections-2023
- The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station, is a new requirement, introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act which was passed last year.
- The legislation requires voters at polling stations to show an accepted form of photo ID before they receive their ballot paper. From May, voters will need to show photo ID before voting in local council elections in England, UK parliamentary by-elections, and police and crime commissioner elections in England and Wales. From October 2023, photo ID will be needed at UK parliamentary general elections. It will not be a requirement at local elections in Scotland or Wales, or elections to Scottish Parliament or Senedd. The requirement already exists in Northern Ireland
- The UK Government’s Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities is responsible for the new voter ID policy and for the free voter ID application system. Enquiries relating to the application system or the policy itself should be directed to the Department.
- The Electoral Commission is responsible for ensuring voters are aware of the new voter ID requirement, and for supporting local authorities with the process. Questions related to the public awareness campaign should be directed to the Electoral Commission.
- Local authorities are responsible for implementing voter ID at the local level.
- Anyone who wants to have their say in the elections this May must also be registered to vote. It only takes five minutes to register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.