Just four weeks left to apply for free voter ID

Just four weeks left to apply for free voter ID

Voters without ID have just four weeks left to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate, before the elections in May.

The Commission is calling on anyone that needs free ID to apply now, before the deadline of 5pm on Wednesday 24 April. 

The Voter Authority Certificate is a free form of ID available to anyone who doesn’t already have an accepted form of voter ID, such as a passport, driving licence or an older person’s or disabled person’s bus pass.

New research from the Electoral Commission shows that 27% of people still don’t know they can apply for the free ID.

Over 16,000 people have already applied for a Voter Authority Certificate ahead of the local elections in England on May 2, where in many places photo ID will be required for the first time.

The research also shows that 78% of people now know they need to bring photo ID to vote in a polling station, compared to 76% at the same time before last year’s local elections. 

Applications can be submitted online at gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate, or by completing a paper form and sending this to the local council’s electoral services team. Voters will need to provide a photo, their full name, date of birth, the address at which they are registered to vote and their National Insurance number.

Applicants must be registered to vote before applying. The registration deadline is midnight on 16 April, and applications to register can be made online at gov.uk/register-to-vote. 

Jackie Killeen, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance at the Electoral Commission said:

“Voters will be required to show photo ID at polling stations at the May elections, but we know not everyone has ID they can take with them. Our research shows that disabled voters, people who are unemployed and young people may find it harder to meet this new requirement.  Anyone who doesn’t currently have the ID they need, can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate, but they must apply before the deadline so that they can cast their vote in May. That date is fast approaching so don’t delay.”

Ends

For more information contact the Electoral Commission press office on 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or press@electoralcommission.org.uk

Notes to editors

  • Research this year was carried out by Savanta on behalf of the Electoral Commission. Data were weighted to be representative of Britain by age, sex, region, and social grade. The total sample size for England was 1,945. Fieldwork took place between 22nd and 25th March 2024. Last year’s research was carried out by YouGov.
  • Voter Authority Certificate application data is taken from the Government's dashboard of VAC applications in England from 01 January 2024 – 26 March 2024.
  • Research carried out by the Electoral Commission found that some groups were less likely to have one of the forms of accepted photo ID. These were those renting from a social landlord, the unemployed, lower social grades, and disabled people.
  • Accepted forms of photo ID include a UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport; UK or EEA drivers’ licence; and some concessionary travel passes, such as an UK Government funded older person’s bus pass or an Oyster 60+ card. Voters can use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo.
  • The UK Government’s Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities is responsible for the new voter ID policy and for the free voter ID application system. Enquiries relating to the application system or the policy itself should be directed to the Department.
  • The Electoral Commission is responsible for ensuring voters are aware of the new voter ID requirement, and for supporting local authorities with administering the process. Questions related to the public awareness campaign should be directed to the Electoral Commission.
  • Local authorities are responsible for implementing voter ID at the local level.