Voting in elections

Photo ID requirements

From the 4 May 2023, when voting in a local election you will be required to provide photo ID.

There is a list of accepted forms of photo ID on the Electoral Commission website.

If you do not have a photo ID you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC). Applications for a Voter Authority Certificate must be made at least 6 working days before the date the polls open.

The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April 2023, so that you will have the certificate in time for the local elections taking place in England on 4 May 2023.

To apply for a VAC you will need:

  • a recent, digital photo of yourself
  • your National Insurance number.

If you do not have a National Insurance number you will need to provide other documents to prove your identity, for example a birth certificate, bank statement and utility bill.

Apply for a Voter Authority Certificate on the GOV.UK website

Get further information about the voter ID requirement on the Electoral Commision website.

Registering to vote

In order to vote in elections you must be on the electoral register.

Once you are registered you will not need to re-register for each election.

When to re-register

  • If you have changed your address since the last election, you will need to register again to make sure all your personal information is up to date.
  • If you have changed your name you will also need to register again or you can request a change of name form from your local electoral services team.

How to register

The quickest and easiest way to register is on the GOV.UK website.

To register you need to provide:

  • your name
  • current address
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number.

You can register to vote from the age of 16 but will only be eligible to vote once you are over the age of 18.

Register to vote now

Postal vote

To apply for a postal vote you must be registered to vote.

Applications for a postal votes must be made using the postal vote application form.

Send the completed application to your local Electoral Registration Office.

Proxy votes

You can ask someone you trust to cast your vote for you if you are not able to do so yourself. This is called a proxy vote.

You can apply for a proxy vote for a specific election, or for a long period of time.

There is more information about proxy votes on the Electoral Commision website, including about different types of proxy votes and emergency proxy votes.

More information

To check whether there are elections in your area and find out the contact details of the electoral services team at your local council, you can simply input your postcode on the Electoral Commision website.