Voter identification

Voter identification (ID) requirements

The UK Government has introduced a requirement for voters to show photo ID when voting at a polling station.

This new requirement will apply for the first time in England at the local elections on Thursday 4 May 2023. On Thursday 4 May there will be elections to West Suffolk Council and to all town and parish councils in West Suffolk too.

Voters must bring a suitable form of photographic ID to their polling station. You may already have a form of photo ID that is acceptable. You can use any of the following:

  • passport
  • driving licence (including provisional licence)
  • Blue Badge
  • certain concessionary travel cards
  • identity card with PASS mark (Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • biometric Immigration document
  • defence identity card
  • certain national identity cards

Only original documents are accepted; scanned images or copies will not be accepted.

Expired documents are accepted if the photo is still a current likeness.

For more information on which forms of photo ID will be accepted, visit the Electoral Commission - Voter ID or call their helpline on 0800 328 0280.

If you don’t have an accepted form of photo ID

If you don’t already have an accepted form of photo ID, or you’re not sure whether your photo ID still looks like you, you can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate. You can apply for this on the GOV.UK - apply for photo ID to vote.

You need to be registered to vote before you apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. When you register to vote, you’ll be asked whether you have photo ID or if you want to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. You can register to vote on the GOV.UK - register to vote.

The Voter Authority Certificate cannot be used as proof of identity for any other purpose than for voting. Once issued, the Voter Authority Certificate can be retained for use at future elections.

The deadline for applying for a Voter Authority Certificate is 5pm six working days before polling day. For the elections on 4 May 2023, the deadline for applications is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April. Voters who do not produce a valid photo ID, or a Voter Authority Certificate, will not be allowed to vote on the day.

When applying for a Voter Authority Certificate, you will need to provide your:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number

You will also need to submit a photograph with your application. The requirements for the photograph are similar to the requirements for a passport photo.

If you need any help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate or want to request a paper application form, contact the West Suffolk Council Electoral Services team on 01284 757131 or email elections@westsuffolk.gov.uk 

Find out more

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, go to the Electoral Commission - Voter ID, or call their helpline on 0800 328 0280.

The Electoral Commission has produced an informative guide - Electoral Commission - Voter ID - Your Guide.

Postal and proxy voters

Postal voters will not be affected and will be issued with their postal ballot papers as usual.

You won’t need to present any ID as your identification is verified by your signature and date of birth.

For more information about postal voting and to download an application form go to How to vote. The deadline for completed postal vote application forms for the elections on 4 May 2023 is 5pm on Monday 17 April 2023.

If you choose to vote by proxy, then the person who you have trusted to vote on your behalf will have to take their own identification to be issued with a ballot paper. For more information about voting by proxy and to download an application form go to How to vote. The deadline for completed application forms to vote by proxy at the elections on 4 May 2023 is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April 2023.