Photo ID at polling stations from May 2023
From 4 May 2023, people who wish to vote in person (including those acting as a proxy), will be required to produce an accepted form of photographic ID to prove their identity before they will be issued with a ballot paper.
This will apply to:
- Local elections
- Town and parish elections
- Neighbourhood planning referendums
- UK parliamentary elections (the requirement for voter ID to be provided at UK parliamentary elections will take effect for polls after 5 October 2023)
- Police and crime commissioner elections
There is currently no requirement for postal voters to provide photographic identification for the May 2023 election.
Accepted forms of photo ID
You can use any of the following accepted forms of photo ID when voting at a polling station.
Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
Driving and parking
- Driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state
- A Blue Badge
- Older Person's Bus Pass
- Disabled Person's Bus Pass
- Oyster 60+ Card
- Freedom Pass
- Scottish National Entitlement Card
- 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
- Disabled Person's Welsh Concessionary Travel Card
- Senior SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
- Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Person’s SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
- War Disablement SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
- 60+ SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
- Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
Proof of age
- Identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
Other government issued documents
- Biometric immigration document
- Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
- National identity card issued by an EEA state
- Electoral Identity Card issued in Northern Ireland
- Voter Authority Certificate
- Anonymous Elector's Document
You will only need to show one form of photo ID. It needs to be the original version and not a photocopy.
Out of date photo ID
You can still use your photo ID if it's out of date, as long as it looks like you. The name on your ID should be the same name you used to register to vote.
If you don't have an accepted form of photo ID
You can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate, if:
- you don't have an accepted form of photo ID
- you're not sure whether your photo ID still looks like you
- you're worried about using an existing form of ID for any other reason, such as the use of a gender marker
You need to register to vote before applying for a Voter Authority Certificate.
How do I apply for a Voter Authority Certificate and what is the deadline to apply?
For the local, town parish council elections taking place on Thursday 4 May 2023, the deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April 2023.
Apply by post
You will also be able to apply by filling out a paper application form and sending this to the Democratic Services team at Cheshire West and Chester Council. You can request the instructions in large print, braille or easy read.
Apply in person
From March 2023, you will also be able to apply in person. To book an appointment with a dedicated customer service adviser, telephone: 0300 123 8 123.
- Chester: Chester Town Hall (side entrance)
- Ellesmere Port: The Portal
- Northwich: Information Centre
- Winsford: Wyvern House
Information you will need to provide
When applying for a Voter Authority Certificate, you will need to provide your:
- date of birth
- National Insurance number
You should apply using the same name that you used to register to vote. You will not need to provide your gender, and your certificate will not have a gender marker.
If you don't know your National Insurance number or don't have one
You can find your National Insurance number on:
- official letters about tax, pensions or benefits
- or you can get in touch with HMRC
You can still apply if you don't know your National Insurance number, or don't have one. You will need to provide other forms of proof of identity, such as a birth certificate, bank statement and a utility bill. If you don't have any other accepted proof of identity, you can ask someone you know to confirm your identity. This is known as an attestation.
Providing a photograph
You will need to submit a photo with your application. The requirements for the photo are similar to the requirements for a passport photo.
Processing your application
Cheshire West and Chester Council will process your application and the Voter Authority Certificate will be sent to you by post along with instructions on how to use it. Voter Authority Certificates do not have an expiration date, but it's recommended that you renew your certificate after 10 years.
All data you provide when applying for a certificate will be stored securely by Cheshire West and Chester Council in line with data protection regulations.