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Changes to elections and voting from 2023

Changes to elections and voting from 2023

Elections Act 2022 – what you need to know

From 2023 there will be big changes to the way that elections are run that will impact voters, candidates, and political parties. Visit the Gov.uk website to find out more about the Elections Act 2022.

Full details of the Elections Act are yet to be announced so all dates and details, below, are subject to change.

Changes for Voters - May 2023 elections

  • Voter ID (Identification) - what's changing:

Electors will have to show an approved form of photo identification to vote in a polling station. Photographic identification that can be used to vote include passport, driving licence, immigration document, a PASS (Proof of Age Standards Scheme) card, Ministry of Defence Form 90, concessionary travel pass (excluding railcards) and national ID card. Electors without an official form of photo identification can now apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate.

  • Accessibility at polling stations - what's changing:
    Voters with disabilities will have access to extra assistance in polling stations. This means that anyone over the age of 18 can attend the polling station to support a disabled voter.

Changes for Absent Voters - July 2023:

Absent voting allows you to vote in an election even if you can't get to the polling station. There are 2 types of absent voting: postal voting and proxy voting.

Changes to absent voting, from July 2023, will be as follows:

  • For all absent voting:
Electors will be able to apply online for an absent vote.
Both online and paper applications will need voters to provide proof of identity.    

Current secrecy requirements will now include all absent voting.

  • For postal voting:
    Political parties and campaigners will be banned from handling postal votes.
    There will be a limit of 6 postal votes that any one person can hand in at a polling station.
    Postal voters will need to make a fresh application every 3 years, instead of the 5-yearly signature refresh.
  • For proxy voting:
Electors will only be allowed to act as proxy for up to 4 people, of which no more than 2 can be 'domestic electors' - i.e. not overseas voters.

Changes for EU Citizens - Spring 2024:

From Spring 2024, EU (European Union) citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote, or stand for election. This applies to all local elections and referendums in England and Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

Two groups of EU citizens will retain their voting rights:

  • Qualifying EU citizens - These are EU citizens from countries with reciprocal agreements with the UK and who have ‘leave to remain’ in the UK or do not require such leave. Currently we have reciprocal agreements with Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, and Spain. This means that the same rules apply in both the UK and that country. For example, a Spanish citizen in the UK could vote or stand for election in the UK, and a UK citizen in Spain could vote or stand for election in Spain.
  • EU citizens with retained rights - These are EU citizens who were living in the UK before 31 December 2020 - i.e. before the UK left the EU.

Changes for Overseas Electors - May 2024:

From May 2024, the 15-year limit on British citizens living abroad will end. Any British citizen previously registered to vote in the UK, or who previously lived in the UK, will be able to register to vote, regardless of how long they've lived abroad.
  • British citizens living abroad will be able to register to vote using the address where they were previously registered. If they were never registered to vote, they can register using the last UK address they lived at.

  • British citizens living abroad will no longer have to register as an overseas voter every year. Instead, they will have to register every 3 years.

Changes to Voting System - May 2024:

For Police and Crime Commissioner Elections the system will change from the 'supplementary vote system' to the 'simple majority voting system', also known as 'first past the post.'

This means that you only vote for one candidate, and the candidate with the most votes wins. They do not have to get a certain number of votes, they just have to get more than any other candidate.

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