Published on

29 February 2024

Remember your photo ID to vote at May elections

Lots of forms of ID are accepted and if you don't have one, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate

British passport

Wokingham Borough Council is reminding residents to ensure they have suitable photo ID to help them get ready for upcoming elections.

Local elections are taking place on Thursday 2 May, with all 54 seats up for contention on Wokingham Borough Council. On the same day, there is also a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election for the Thames Valley and there may be parish council elections if any seats are contested.

Although photo ID was a requirement at last year’s local elections, not all borough wards were up and so for many residents this will be the first time they need to bring ID. The change was introduced as a result of the Elections Act, which was passed in 2022 and has seen a number of changes to elections and voting.

For those who do not have suitable ID, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate (VAC). This can be done online, or by completing a paper form and sending it to our electoral services team.

For the local and PCC elections in May, the deadline to apply for a VAC is 5pm on Wednesday 24 April.

Before applying, check the ID you already have. Accepted forms of ID include:

  • Passport
  • Full or provisional driving licence
  • Blue badge
  • Certain concessionary travel cards, such as an older person’s buss pass or an Oyster 60+ card
  • Identity card with Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) mark
  • Biometric Immigration document
  • Defence identity card
  • Certain national identity cards

Expired ID will also be accepted, as long as the photograph on the document still resembles a likeness of the elector.

 A full list of accepted forms of ID is available on the Electoral Commission’s website, along with more information about photo ID and how to apply for a VAC.

If you turn up at a polling station without suitable photo ID, you will not be issued with a ballot paper. Bringing your poll card alone will not entitle you to vote. Before starting an application for a VAC, you must first remember to check you are registered to vote. The deadline to register is 11.59pm on Tuesday 16 April.

Be prepared for May elections

Andrew Moulton, returning officer at Wokingham Borough Council, said: “Although this will not be the first year when photo ID has been a requirement, for many it will be their first experience of taking ID to the polling station and we want to support all residents to vote.

“We don’t want this to be a barrier to people exercising their democratic right and would encourage everyone to be prepared for Thursday 2 May. Know ahead of time what ID you plan to take and if you don’t have appropriate ID, know that a free solution is available with a Voter Authority Certificate.”

If you would prefer not to show ID at a polling station, you can apply to vote by post or proxy, which removes the need for photo ID. However, your proxy will still need to show their photo ID.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote for the May elections is 5pm on Wednesday 17 April and for a proxy vote is 5pm on Wednesday 24 April. You can now apply to vote by post or proxy online through new government portals.

The need for photo ID also applies to UK parliamentary elections. Although the date for the next general election has not yet been confirmed, it must be held by 28 January 2025, but it could be called sooner.

You can contact the electoral services team by email or call (0118) 974 6000 to request a paper copies of application forms. The team will also be happy to help with any queries you may have in completing a form.

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