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Voting at elections has changed

Published: 02/05/2024
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New Ashford parliamentary constituencies

Voting at the next General Election has changed. The single Ashford parliamentary constituency has been split between two constituencies – Ashford and the Weald of Kent. The new Ashford constituency has an electorate of 73,546 people, while the Weald of Kent constituency has an electorate of 72,024.

The change means that the borough of Ashford is covered by two new constituencies:

  • Ashford – including 24 of Ashford’s 39 wards plus wards from Folkestone & Hythe
  • Weald of Kent – with 15 of Ashford’s wards, including the wards of Charing, Downs North and Downs West

The changes follow a review of parliamentary constituencies by the Boundary Commission for England. It was conducted because the number of electors in each constituency varied due to population changes since the last boundary review. The review seeks to rebalance the number of electors each MP represents. As a result, the number of constituencies in England has increased from 533 to 543.

What does this change mean for you?

Please see the new boundary maps for the Ashford and Weald of Kent parliamentary constituencies, together with the list of wards included in both constituencies. And remember, this change applies only to voting at a General Election.

Ashford County Constituency [pdf] 2351KB

Weald Of Kent County Constituency [pdf] 3089KB

Voter ID

Changes introduced last May now require anyone voting in person to bring acceptable photo ID. This includes British passports and driving licenses, even if they have expired as long as the photo is recognisable. Anyone without photo ID can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate free of charge at www.gov.uk

Postal vote handling and proxy changes

For elections held on or after 2 May 2024, the law has changed. An individual cannot hand in, in person, more than five postal votes plus their own. Nor can candidates or campaigners handle postal votes other than their own or a close relative.

Anyone handing in postal votes, either at the council offices or at a polling station, will now have to complete a form and make a declaration. We strongly advise that everyone posts back their postal votes for processing in the usual way.

Proxy rules have changed. People can now only be a proxy (someone officially designated to vote on someone else’s behalf) for a maximum of two people from the UK (four people in total including overseas electors).

Apply for a postal vote online

To vote by post, apply online now at www.gov.uk and search apply-postal-vote. Residents must be registered to apply. The application requires a national Insurance number and to upload a clear image of the applicant’s signature.

Apply for a proxy vote online

To apply to vote by proxy, apply now, search apply-proxy-vote at www.gov.uk. Residents must be registered to apply. The application requires a National Insurance number and to upload a clear image of the applicant’s signature.

Applying for a Voter Authority Certificate

Those residents wanting to vote in a polling station who do not have suitable voter ID can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate online at www.gov.uk and search apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate. Residents must be registered to apply. The application requires a National Insurance number and to upload a clear image of the applicant’s signature.

For more information visit www.ashford.gov.uk/your-council/register-to-vote-and-elections/