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Voter identification (ID) requirement

Find out what photo ID you need to vote at a polling station and apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.

You need to show valid photo ID at a polling station to vote in elections in England, Scotland and Wales. This requirement was introduced by the Election Act 2022.

You must be registered to vote before an election.

Photo ID you can use to vote at a polling station

You must bring one original document (not a photocopy or mobile device photo) from the list on GOV.UK so that you can vote at a polling station.

See the current list of accepted photo ID that you can use to vote.

If you do not have valid photo ID

You cannot vote without valid photo ID. Anyone can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) which can be used as valid photo ID in some elections and referendums.

How to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC)

You can apply for a free VAC on GOV.UK.

You must apply by 5pm at least six working days before polling day for the next election but the Government recommends applying at least one month before the election to make sure your VAC arrives in time.

You will need:

  • a recent digital photo of yourself
  • your National Insurance Number or other forms of identification like your birth certificate.

Apply now

Please note that you must be registered to vote or have applied to register to vote. The Voter Authority Certificate can only be used for ID at elections or referendums.

Other ways to vote

You can apply for a postal vote or nominate someone else to vote for you (a proxy).

More information

Why photo ID has been introduced

The requirement to provide photo ID when voting in person was introduced as part of the Election Act 2022. It aims to prevent election fraud and impersonation, the crime of pretending to be someone else when you vote. 

What to do if your Voter Authority Certificate application has been refused

The reason for the application being refused will be given to you and you can appeal the decision, but it must be within 14 days of the refusal.

You can also apply for a postal vote or nominate a proxy.

What to do if your Voter Authority Certificate can't be posted to you

If there is a valid reason the Voter Authority Certificate cannot be posted, you can collect it in person. 

The Voter Authority Certificate must be collected by the applicant of the certificate. Someone else cannot collect it for you. This also applies to temporary Voter Authority Certificates. 

How to prove you can vote if the name on your photo ID is different to the one you are registered under

If needed, some supporting documents for a name change - such as a marriage certificate or deed poll - will be accepted at polling stations to demonstrate a name change. 

You must take the supporting document to the polling station with your photo ID.

Voting on behalf of someone else

If you are acting as a proxy to vote on the behalf of someone else, you must bring photo ID for yourself to the polling station. You do not need to provide photo ID of the person you are voting on behalf of.

What to do if your photo ID is lost, damaged or stolen

If it is before 5pm, six working days before the polling day you can still apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate on GOV.UK. 

If you require a new Voter Authority Certificate or it is past the deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, email as soon as possible.

You may be able to choose an emergency proxy for polling day if you have lost, destroyed, damaged, or had your photographic ID stolen and you find out after the deadline to apply for the Voter Authority Certificate.

What to do if your free photo ID has not arrived

If your Voter Authority Certificate has not arrived within a month, you can contact Islington Electoral Services team to see why it has been delayed.  

If the document has not arrived at least six working days before polling day, a temporary Voter Authority Certificate may be issued, or the applicant can ask for an emergency proxy. The proxy must have photo ID to show at the polling station. 

Renewing a Voter Authority Certificate

If you have a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC), you do not need to reapply or renew your VAC. It is recommended you renew it after 10 years.

Your address is not included on the VAC. So even if you move to a new home either under the same Local Authority or a different Local Authority, you can still use the same VAC.

Anonymous applicants will have to reapply for an Anonymous Elector Document if they change address (either within the same Local Authority or a different Local Authority) because their elector number will be different at their new address.

ID for anonymous electors

Anonymous electors who want to vote in person at the polling station will need to apply for an Anonymous Elector's Document (AEDs) and present this document at the polling station along with their anonymous poll card. 

The Anonymous Elector Document is an A4-sized paper document with appropriate security features and will not display the applicants name. Instead it will show the elector number of the applicant.

The Anonymous Elector's Document is the only form of identification that you can provide and use at the polling station. You will not be able to present any other form of ID, including the acceptable photo ID. This is because an anonymous elector's name does not appear on the electoral register and no other form of documentation would prove your identity and eligibility to have a ballot paper issued.  

Anonymous electors have to reapply and renew the Anonymous Elector Document every year by providing a new photo as part of the application process at the time of their annual declaration renewal. The Electoral Registration Officer will also issue a replacement document if they renumber their electoral register (the anonymous applicant will not need to reapply in this scenario).  

Find out more about registering to vote anonymously and how to vote anonymously

Poll cards

Poll cards will still be sent to every registered elector. They are now A4-sized and sent in an envelope. The poll card lists all acceptable forms of photo ID as well as the usual information such as polling station address, map and polling date.
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