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Public urged to remember photo ID to vote in General Election

04 Jul 2024 3 minute read
A British passport

Anyone wishing to vote should ensure they have the correct photo identification before heading to the polling station on Thursday, the Electoral Commission has warned.

This year is the first time in the UK that everybody wanting to vote in person at a general election will have to show ID before receiving a ballot paper.

Acceptable forms

Not all types of photo ID will be accepted at polling stations, but a passport, driving licence or blue badge are valid.

Other forms of permitted ID include an Older Person’s or Disabled Person’s Bus Pass or an Oyster 60+ card, the new free Voter Authority Certificate, and an identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a Pass card).

Craig Westwood, director of communications at the Electoral Commission, said: “This is the first time at a UK general election where voters will need to show photographic ID before they can receive their ballot paper.

“Bringing an accepted form of ID means your voice can be heard at the ballot box.

“Before heading to the polling station, check to make sure that you have the ID you need to vote.

“It needs to be an original version, copies and pictures won’t be accepted.

“If you don’t remember your ID when you arrive at a polling station, you can return with it later in the day.

“Anyone in a queue at 10pm will be able to cast their vote.”

Further information

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm.

Voters can find information on their local polling station by entering their postcode on the Electoral Commission website.

Postal votes must be returned by 10pm and can also be handed into polling stations and council offices.

If voters lose their ID, they can appoint an emergency proxy to vote on their behalf up until 5pm on election day.

Boris Johnson. Photo Charles McQuillan PA Wire/PA Images

Former prime minister Boris Johnson was turned away from a polling station after forgetting to bring a photo ID in May’s local elections.

Photo ID rules were brought in by Mr Johnson’s government as part of the Elections Act 2022, as the Government said they were necessary to combat the risk of in-person voter fraud.

The requirements were first enforced at the May 2023 local council elections in England.

A report published in June 2023 by the Electoral Commission estimated that at least 0.25% of people who tried to vote at a polling station in those elections were not issued with a ballot paper because of the ID rules, the equivalent of approximately 14,000 voters.

Voter ID has been a requirement for elections in Northern Ireland since 2002.

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