PEOPLE wanting to take part in this year’s local government elections are being urged to check that they have the right photographic identification needed to enable them to vote.
Voters in Leicester will go to the polls on May 4, 2023, to elect the city’s 54 councillors and its City Mayor.
For the first time this year, people voting in person need to bring an accepted form of photographic identification to their polling station as part of new Government rules.
Anyone who doesn’t have any of the acceptable forms of identification can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate instead – but must apply before the deadline of 5pm on Tuesday, April 25.
People who don’t bring either valid photo ID or a Voter Authority Certificate to a polling station will not be able to vote on polling day.
Returning officer for the City of Leicester, Miranda Cannon, said: “It is vitally important that people have the chance to vote in these local elections.
“New Government rules mean that voters must either produce photo identification, or a Voter Authority Certificate, in order to cast their vote.
“It is simple, and free, to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate – but the deadline to do so is less than one week away.
“I would strongly urge anyone wanting to vote to check that they have one of the accepted forms of photographic ID, and if they do not, to apply immediately for a Voter Authority Certificate.”
Acceptable forms of photo ID are listed fully on both Leicester City Council’s website and the Electoral Commission website.
Photo ID including passports, driving licences, Blue Badges, some concessionary travel cards and certain national identity cards can be used.
Voters who don’t have the ID they need can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate either online from the Government website, or by filling in an application form and giving it to the city council. They will need to provide a photo and their national insurance details.
Two deadlines for voting have already passed – voters needed to be registered by April 17, while the deadline for anyone applying for a postal vote was April 18.
The Government is bringing in the new photo ID rules across the UK as a way to tackle electoral fraud. The rules will also be applied to any UK general elections taking place from October 2023.
Full details about the new photo ID rules are available at Leicester City Council’s website here.
Helpful information is available both at Leicester City Council’s website and the Electoral Commission’s website.
There will be arrangements in place at every polling station in the city for people, such as women who wear a veil, to have their identity checked in private and each polling station will have a female member of staff.
The Electoral Commission website also has help and guidance for groups who may have difficulty in producing the right photo ID, such as gypsies and travellers, older people, homeless people, transgender and non-binary people, to help ensure they are able to vote.