Voter Identification Requirements
The Elections Act 2022 was granted Royal Assent and passed into law on 28th April 2022. The new legislation includes changes to absent voting rules, EU citizens' voting rights, accessibility, voter identification and 'votes for life' for overseas electors. You can find out more about the Elections Act 2022 on GOV.UK and on the Electoral Commisson.
This page will provide details about the new requirements for Voter Identification and how this will impact voting and elections across the district of Winchester.
You must bring photographic identification with you to vote in person in the May 2023 elections
You are now required to show photographic identification at polling stations before you can be given a ballot paper.
This will affect all voters across the district of Winchester who vote in person or by proxy, at the next local election on Thursday 4 May 2023.
If you choose to vote by proxy, then the person who you have trusted to vote on your behalf will have to take their own photographic identification to be issued a ballot paper.
Postal voters will not be affected and will be issued with their postal ballot papers as usual.
Voters must bring a suitable form of photographic ID to their polling station. Please see the acceptable list of ID.
Only original documents will be accepted; scanned images or copies will not be accepted. However, expired documents are acceptable if the photo is still a current likeness.
No suitable photographic ID?
If you do not have any of the accepted forms of photographic identification, and you want to vote at the polling station, you will need to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate. This is a new document which Electoral Registration Officers (ERO) will be required to provide, free of charge, to any eligible elector who applies for one.
You will be able to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate online, by paper application form or in person from Monday 16 January 2023. See Voter Authority Certificate section below for more information on how to apply. We recommend that you apply for a Voter Authority Certificate in good time. The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate in time for the local elections on Thursday 4 May 2023 is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April 2023.
Voters who do not produce valid photographic Identification or a Voter Authority Certificate will not be able to vote on polling day. Our team at the polling station have no discretion to allow you to vote so please ensure you have an acceptable form of valid photographic identification or a Voter Authority Certificate with you.
The Voter Authority Certificate
You only need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate if:
- you do not have accepted Photographic Identification
- you no longer look like the photo on your Photographic Identification
- the name on your Photographic Identification is different to your name on the electoral register.
You will be able to use the Voter Authority Certificate to vote in person in some UK elections and referendums, however, it cannot be used as proof of identification for any other reason.
The deadline for application for a Voter Authority Certificate ahead of the next local elections on Thursday 4th May 2023 is 5pm Tuesday 25th April 2023.
If you apply for a Voter Authority Certificate after the deadline, then you will be unable to receive a Voter Authority Certificate in time for polling day. We will not be able to determine your application until after polling day. However, your application will be determined after polling day so that you can participate in future elections.
Temporary Voter Authority Certificates and emergency proxies due to voter identification will not be available if you have applied for a Voter Authority Certificate after the deadline.
For every method of application, you will be asked to provide
- Your full name
- Your address at which you are registered
- Overseas electors and service voters will need to provide their declaration and present address
- Your Date of Birth
- Your National Insurance number
- A close-up photograph of your head and shoulders - The photo requirements are similar to passport requirements. Further information can be found in the FAQs.
- Anonymous electors will need to indicate that they have (or have applied for) an anonymous entry on the register.
- Applicants will also be asked if they need to collect their document rather than have it delivered, and to give a reason why.
- Applicants will need also to declare that the information is provided is true, and applications will be dated.
Whichever method of application you choose the Voter Authority Certificate is printed and delivered through a national central service which uses Royal Mail to deliver the Voter Authority Certificate to your registered address. It is estimated that Voter Authority Certificates will be printed within 1-2 days of being sent to the print supplier, and then delivered first class by Royal Mail.
In certain circumstances, which are agreed on an individual basis, you may be able to collect your document in person from the Council Offices. We will let you know where and at what times the document can be collected so if possible, please leave a email and/or telephone number. The document may only be collected by yourself in person.