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New government rules on voting ID for May elections

For the first time, residents in the upcoming local elections will need to show photographic ID to vote at this year’s elections.  

Residents need to make sure they are ready to vote in May by checking they have an accepted form of ID. The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station was introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act which was passed last year and comes into effect for the first time this May. 

Accepted forms of ID include a UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport; a UK, EEA or Commonwealth drivers’ licence; and some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person’s bus pass or an Oyster 60+ card. Voters will be able to use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo. 

Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of ID will be able to apply for free ID online at or by completing a paper form. 

The full list of accepted ID is available on the Electoral Commission’s website, along with more information about the new requirement and details of how to apply for the free ID, at

Jonathan Stephenson, Returning Officer and Chief Executive at Rochford District and Brentwood Borough Council, said: 

“With elections taking place in within the district on 4 May 2023, it is important that those who want to vote make sure they have an accepted form of ID. It may seem early but checking now means you will be ready to vote in May. 

“Residents who do not have one of the accepted forms of ID can apply for free ID either online or by completing a paper application form and sending this to Rochford’s electoral services team. If you need any help with applying for the free ID or want to request an application form, contact the electoral services team on 01702 318187 or email” 

Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance, said: 

“Anyone voting at a polling station in England this May will need to show photo ID before they can be given their ballot paper. It’s important that everyone understands what types of ID they can use, and how to apply for free ID if they need it. You can find information about the new requirement and what to expect at the polling station on the Electoral Commission’s website.” 

Anyone who wants to have their say in the elections this May must also be registered to vote. It only takes five minutes to register online at Voters wishing to apply to their council for free ID should first make sure they are registered to vote. 

Postal voters will only require ID if they intend to cancel their postal vote and vote at a polling station on 4th May instead. Otherwise they will continue to receive their postal vote in the usual way through the post to complete and return. If any elector has a postal vote for themselves but has been appointed to vote as a proxy on behalf of another person, they would need to their own have ID before being allowed to vote in a polling station on behalf of that person.