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You will need to show photo ID when voting at a polling station

The government has decided that voters must show a form of photo ID when voting at a polling station. The new rules will be in place from the council elections on Thursday 4 May 2023.

Only certain types of photo ID may be used.

If you don’t have one of the accepted types of ID, you’ll need to apply for a free voter authority certificate. This can be used when voting at a polling station.

To apply for a voter authority certificate, go to the government’s website. The deadline for applying for a certificate in time for the May 2023 local elections is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April. Please apply as soon as possible so that you receive it in time.

If you know someone who can’t apply online, they can ask us for a paper application form by calling 023 9283 4074.

Voting by post

The new voter ID requirements do not affect voting by post. Anyone can apply to vote by post; you do not need to have a special reason.

To find out more about voting by post, go to how to vote by post

If you have any questions concerning the above issues, or about elections or voting, please contact the Election Services Office by email at elections@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or by phone on 023 9283 4074

Help and support

If you have any questions concerning the above issues, or about elections or voting, please contact the election services office by email at elections@portsmouthcc.gov.uk or by phone on 023 9283 4074.

Frequently asked questions

Will voters need photo ID at all future elections?

Yes, voters will need to show photo ID when voting at a polling station at future elections.

What types of photo identification will be accepted?

You can use identity documents which are included on the Government’s official list including:

  • A passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
  • A driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or an EEA member state
  • A biometric immigration document
  • A national identity card issued by an EEA state
  • An Older Person’s Bus Pass
  • A Disabled Person’s Bus Pass
  • A Blue Badge
  • An identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • A Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)

See a full list of accepted photo ID on the governments website.

What if I don’t have suitable photo ID?

If you don’t have one of the forms of photo id listed, you may apply for a voter authority certificate free of charge. The voter authority certificate is a photo identity document designed to be used as a form of ID for voting purposes.

Can I use a document if it has expired, for example, an out-of-date passport?

Yes, as long as the photo is still a good enough likeness of you. If you now look different to the photo, you should apply for a voter authority certificate.

Can I use a copy of an identity document?

No, you can’t use photocopies or electronic copies (for example, a copy of a document on your phone).

Are there any other identity documents that would be acceptable?

No, only the identity documents included on the official list can be accepted.

What if I look different to the photo on the identity document?

Your ID will not be accepted if you no longer look the same as in the photo. You should apply for a voter authority certificate.

Can I use ID if it’s for my old address?

Yes, as long as the photo is still a good enough likeness of you.

Can I request that my identity is checked in private?

Yes, there will be an area available at each polling station; please ask the staff. Male and female staff will be available.

Will voters need to take their poll card with them when voting?

No.

Will the poll card count as a form of ID?

No, only the identity documents included in the official list can be accepted. This does not include poll cards as they are not photo ID.

Will voter ID requirements apply to postal voters?

From summer 2023, an identity check will need to be completed when applying for a postal vote. Follow the link for details on how to vote by post.

Will voter ID requirements apply to proxy voters?

Anyone acting as a proxy will need to show photo ID when voting at a polling station. The identity document should belong to the proxy, not the person on whose behalf the proxy is voting.

Is the voter authority certificate valid for more than one election?

It will be valid for more than one election. It is recommended that it is renewed at least every 10 years. However, because the photo must remain a good likeness of the voter it may be necessary to apply for a new one earlier.