Portsmouth people are being urged to make sure they’re ready for the next council elections on 4 May. Important deadlines are coming up in April, which could affect whether residents are able to vote.

The deadline to register to vote is midnight on 17 April. Voters can register online. It takes just five minutes.

On 4 May, for the first time, voters will need to show photo ID if they vote at a polling station. This is a new requirement, introduced nationally by the government. Find out what kinds of ID will be accepted.

ID can be acceptable if it has expired or if it shows an old address, as long as the photo is still a good enough likeness.

If you don’t have one of the accepted types of ID, you can apply for a free voter authority certificate instead. Anyone who can’t apply online can call the council on 023 9283 4074. You must apply for a certificate by 5pm on 25 April.

You don’t need photo ID if you vote by post. Anyone can apply to vote by post – no special reason is needed. Find out more, or contact the council on elections@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or 023 9283 4074. The deadline for applying for a postal vote is 5pm on 18 April.

Voters can also appoint someone they trust to vote at a polling station in their place, known as a proxy vote. Find out more about proxy voting. Anyone acting as a proxy will need to show their own photo ID. The deadline to apply for a proxy vote is 5pm on 25 April.

David Williams, chief executive of Portsmouth City Council, said:

“Don’t lose your chance to take part in the elections in May. They’re an important opportunity to have your say on who represents you and makes decisions that affect day-to-day life in Portsmouth. If you’re in doubt about whether you need to register to vote, or have questions about how to apply for a postal or proxy vote, or free ID, you can email us at elections@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or call us on 023 9283 4074.”