Running electoral registration - Scotland

Availability of Voter Authority Certificate application forms

You should ensure that electors are made aware that if they do not have one of the accepted forms of photographic ID, they have the option to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. They can do so online or by using a paper application form. 

You should include a link to the GOV.UK Voter Authority Certificate application portal on your local authority’s website. You could also make the form available to download, or include a link to the forms that are available from our website. You should also consider publicising the closing date for the return of applications ahead of any relevant elections.

You should ensure that you have an adequate supply of paper application forms in case an elector is unable to print it off themselves and is not able to use the online application portal.

Promotional materials highlighting the requirement for photographic ID, such as posters and leaflets, should also be made available at all public offices of the local authority and at other premises frequented by electors, such as:

  • post offices
  • libraries
  • doctors’ surgeries
  • Citizens Advice Bureaux

You should ensure that local political parties, candidates and agents at elections are aware of their responsibilities in relation to handling Voter Authority Certificate applications. They should be free to inform voters of the requirements for photographic ID and how they can apply, but they should not handle any completed application forms as they contain sensitive personal information. 

The Commission has developed a Code of conduct for campaigners at elections and referendums. You should liaise with the Returning Officer (if you are not also the Returning Officer) at any elections that are taking place to ensure that all candidates and agents are provided with copies of the Code of conduct for campaigners at elections and referendums, and know how to obtain additional copies if required.

The referenced media source is missing and needs to be re-embedded.

The code provides a guide as to what is, and is not, considered acceptable behaviour at polling stations and in the community during the lead-up to polling day, including in relation to Voter Authority Certificate applications. Any concerns that the code has been breached should be raised first with the candidate, agent, political party or campaigner in question. If you have any further concerns or wish to report a breach of the code you should first contact your local Commission team.

This code has been agreed by the political parties represented on the House of Commons Parliamentary Parties Panel and the panels for the Scottish Parliament and the Senedd, and is endorsed by the members of the Electoral Commission’s UK Electoral Coordination and Advisory Board of senior Returning and Electoral Registration Officers and by the Electoral Integrity Roundtable.

Last updated: 8 February 2023