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You will need photo ID to vote in polling stations at local elections in May

Published: 26/01/2023
Electoral Commission banner that reads: You will need photo ID to vote at a polling station

For the first time, people across the country will need to show photo ID to vote in polling stations at this year’s local elections. So residents in the borough of Ashford are being urged to make sure they are ready to vote in May by checking they have an accepted form of ID.

Accepted forms of ID include a UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport; a UK or EEA driver's licence and some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person’s bus pass. Voters can 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 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 

The law change introduced by the Government means you must show valid photo ID in a polling station before you can cast your vote and there are no exceptions allowed. Note that photo ID is not required for postal votes.

From October, the photo ID requirement is extended to parliamentary general elections.

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.”

Tracey Kerly, Returning Officer at Ashford Borough Council, said: “With elections taking place in Ashford on 4 May, 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 Ashford Borough Council’s electoral services team. If you need any help with applying for the free ID or want to request an application form, contact our Helpline on 01233 330402.”

Remember to Vote guidance from the Electoral Commission

The Council has a webpage where more information on the May elections will be displayed.

Which forms of ID can I use to vote in a polling station?

The common forms of ID are listed here – see the full list online.

  • Passport
  • Driving licence (including provisional license)
  • Blue badge
  • Certain concessionary travel cards
  • Identity card with PASS mark (Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • Biometric Immigration document
  • Defence identity card and certain national identity cards

Have your say – register to vote today

To have your say in the May elections you must be registered to vote. It only takes five minutes to register online. Voters wishing to apply to Ashford Borough Council for free ID should first make sure they are registered to vote – the deadline to register to vote at the elections in May is Monday 17 April.