Voter ID

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

Which forms of ID can I use to vote?

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

Please note: If you have a form of accepted ID that is out of date, you can still use it to vote at a polling station if it still looks like you. 

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 at Voter Authority Certificate Application

Alternatively, you can complete a paper application form and send this to the electoral services team at your local council. If you want to request an application form, contact the electoral services team on 01279 655 261. 

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


Voter Identification will be required at polling stations from May 2023 onwards. 

From 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 at:

  • Local elections
  • Parish elections
  • Neighbourhood Planning Referendums
  • UK parliamentary elections
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections

*The requirement for voter ID to be provided at UK Parliamentary General elections will only take effect for polls after 5 October 2023.

The accepted forms of photographic ID are: 

  • A 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
  • A driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state
  • A biometric immigration documents
  • an identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • A Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
  • A Blue Badge
  • A national identity card issued by an EEA state
  • An Older Person’s Bus Pass
  • A Disabled Person’s Bus Pass
  • An Oyster 60+ Card
  • A Freedom Pass
  • A Scottish National Entitlement Card issued in Scotland
  • A 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card issued in Wales
  • A Disabled Person’s Welsh Concessionary Travel Card issued in Wales
  • A Senior SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Person’s SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A War Disablement SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A 60+ SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • An Electoral Identity Card issued in Northern Ireland 
  • A Voter Authority Certificate or a temporary Voter Authority Certificate

Expired photographic identification documents can still be used as accepted photographic ID at the polling station, as long as the photograph is still a good likeness of the elector.

Please note Student passes and Railcards will not be accepted due to the wide array of professional and educational organisations.

No, photocopies of identification documents or pictures on mobile phones of identification documents will not be photo-editing software can be used to edit them making them susceptible to fraudulent alteration.

Where an individual does not have one of these accepted forms of photographic ID, they can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate online. The elector can apply online or download a paper application form. This is a free service. If you do not have the correct valid identification you will not be allowed to vote on the day.

You will be required to provide further proof of identity if there is any discrepancy between your name as shown on your form of photographic identification and your name on the electoral register e.g. marriage certificate

There will be a private area in each polling station to allow voters to have their form of ID viewed in private if they wish. This may be achieved either in a private room, privacy screens or partitions.

If an elector refuses to comply with the Voter ID check they will not be given a ballot paper and will not be able to vote in the polling station.

It is not a mandatory requirement to provide a specific gender poll clerk, however, you may wish to request a specific gender poll clerk to view your voter ID if available.

If you arrive at the polling station with no acceptable voter ID, you will be advised to leave and return with the appropriate ID. If you do not provide an accepted form of identification, then there is no evidence that you are the person on the register. 

The Presiding Officer will be responsible for making any decision to refuse to provide a ballot paper.

If you lose all forms of ID before the deadline for applications for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) has passed you may apply for a VAC.

If you lose your ID after the deadline for applications for a VAC, the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) will have the ability to allow the appointment of an emergency proxy voter for that polling day.

No. You will need to provide a reason why you need an emergency proxy and make a declaration.

As a proxy voter you will need to produce your own photo ID. However, you don’t need to produce the ID for the elector on whose behalf you are voting.

No, this is not a requirement.

Yes, there will be additional information on the Poll Card regarding the new requirements and details regarding voter identification. Due to this, the Poll Card may need to be bigger. 

You will go to the desk and tell the staff your name and address. They will ask you to provide your photographic identification. They will then give you your ballot paper(s) to take to a voting booth. Read the instructions in the booth and mark your ballot paper(s), fold them once so nobody can see how you have voted. Then put your folded ballot papers into the appropriate ballot box(es).

You can apply to vote by post, you will be sent a postal ballot pack before the election. 

If you do not want to vote in person at a polling station, you can apply to vote by proxy. This means that you can nominate somebody to attend your polling station and vote on your behalf. 

If you do not possess acceptable forms of photo ID, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) online

It will be an A4 sized, paper-based document displaying the Electors Full Name and photograph, the date of issue, the issuing local authority and a recommended renewal date. 

VAC will not have an expiry date but will include a recommended renewal date. It is valid as long as the photograph remains a good likeness of you which is why we recommend you apply for a document every 10 years.

You can apply for a VAC in person, by post or online. Application forms will be available online to download and print, but you will also be able to request that Electoral Services Office post an application form to you. We will accept scanned copies of applications for VAC via email. Applications may also be posted or handed into the Council Offices.

You will be asked to provide:

  • Your Full Name
  • Your address at which you are registered
  • Overseas Electors and Service Voters will need to provide their declaration and present address
  • Your Date of Birth
  • Your National Insurance number
  • A close-up photograph of your head and shoulders
  • Anonymous Electors will need to indicate that they have (or have applied for) an Anonymous entry on the register
  • Applicants will be asked if they need to collect their documents rather than have it delivered, and to give a reason why
  • Applicants will also need to declare that the information provided is true and application will be dated

You must be facing forward, with no other objects or people in the photo, not wearing sunglasses or head coverings (except head coverings for medical or religious reasons), with no glare or shadows over the face and be against a neutral background. The online application service will not allow an application to be submitted until a photograph has been uploaded.

If you are unable to provide a digital photo, then you can apply for a VAC via a paper application and provide a physical photograph with the application. An online application cannot be made if you do not have (or cannot take) a digital photo. If you are unable to take a photograph yourself, you can contact the Electoral Services Office and you can arrange for them to take a photograph for you.

You will need to be registered to vote to be issued with a VAC. However, you will be able to submit an application for a VAC at the same time as you submit an application to register to vote – you will not need to have your registration confirmed first.

No. The VAC will only be accepted as photographic identification for the purpose of supporting the democratic process.

The centrally procured printing and delivery process will use Royal Mail to the VAC to your registered address, It is estimated that VAC will be printed within 1-2 days of being sent to the print supplier, and then delivered first class by Royal Mail.

You may request during your application to collect your document in person from the Council Offices. You will be asked to provide a reason for this request, and this may be made available. We will notify you of where and at what times the document can be collected, and that the document may only be collected by yourself in person.

Although you will need to register to vote at your new address, you will not need to request a new VAC if you move house within East Herts or move to another local authority. You will be able to use your VAC in all polls across Great Britain – not just in the local authority that issued the VAC.

You can apply for a VAC from Monday 16th January 2023.

The deadline for applications for a VAC will be 5pm, 6 working days before polling day. 

If you apply for a VAC after the deadline, then you will be unable to receive a VAC in time for polling day. We will not be able to determine your application until after polling day. However, your application will be determined after polling day so that you can participate in future elections.

Temporary VACs and emergency proxies will not be available if you have applied for a VAC after the deadline.

When applying for a VAC, you will need to provide evidence identifying yourself – initially through providing your Date of Birth and National Insurance number. These details will then be matched against the Department for Work and Pensions’ records in order for your identity to be verified.

If these details are either not provided or do not match against Department for Work and Pensions’ records, we contact you to request some documentary evidence or an attestation so that we can manually verify your identity.

The Electoral Registration Officer will decide whether a VAC should be issued. The Electoral Registration Officer must be satisfied that the person making the application is the person named in the application and that the applicant is both eligible and registered to vote.

You will be notified on whether your application has been approved or rejected. If your application has been approved, we will inform you of the delivery or collection arrangements. If your application has been rejected, we will inform you of the reasons for the refusal.

You may be asked to provide additional evidence to prove your identity for a VAC application, documents such as:

  • Birth, adoption, marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • Firearms certificate
  • Non-photocard UK driving licence, or a driving licence granted other than in the UK or Crown Dependencies
  • Record of bail
  • Financial statement (such as a mortgage, bank or building society, credit card or pension statement)
  • Council tax letter or statement
  • Utility bill
  • P45 or P60
  • Benefits statement

You may also provide an attestation to verify your identity.

No. You will not be able to check for updates, you will need to direct all queries regarding application to the Electoral Services Team. We will contact you to confirm whether your application has been approved or rejected.

Your application for a VAC may have been rejected if the Electoral Registration Officer is not satisfied that you are the person named in the application or you are not eligible or registered to vote, or if you have not provided any additional information when requested by the Electoral Registration Officer.

We advise that you contact the Electoral Services Office if you have not received your VAC within 28 days of application.

If you have applied for a VAC by the deadline but you have not received it, you should contact the Electoral Services Office. We will be able to issue you with a temporary VAC, valid only for the specific polling day, which you will need to collect in person from the Council Offices (unless an alternative is agreed and arranged). We will notify you on where and what times the temporary VAC can be collected. This option will be available from 5pm, 6 working days before polling day and up to 5pm on polling day.

No. Temporary Certificates will only be issued if there is an issue with you receiving your permanent Certificate.  If your permanent Certificate is late in the post, it should arrive after polling day and so no further action is needed. However, if the temporary Certificate was issued because the permanent Certificate was damaged on arrival, we will arrange for a new one to be printed.

You will need to apply for an Anonymous Electors’ Document if you choose to vote in person. This is the only form of identification that you will be able to use in the polling station because your name does not appear on the register and therefore no other types of identification will prove that you are the correct elector.

Any application for Anonymous Electors’ Document must contain:

  • Your Full Name
  • The address at which you are registered to vote (or have applied to be registered at), or in the case of special category electors, your present, correspondence or BFPO number address
  • Your Date of Birth
  • Your National Insurance number
  • A statement as to whether you consider it necessary to collect the Anonymous Electors’ Document in person instead of it being delivered to the relevant delivery address, and the reason for collection
  • A declaration that you have, or applying to have, an anonymous entry on the register
  • A declaration that the contents of the application are true, either by signature or some mark that shows that you have made the declaration
  • The date of the application

Any application must also contain a suitable photograph of you, meeting the relevant size and resolution requirements.

You must present your Anonymous Elector’s Document in addition to your poll card to vote in person at a polling station. The electoral register number on the Anonymous Elector’s Document must match the electoral register number shown on your poll card to be accepted.

You do not need to apply for an Anonymous Elector’s Document if you are voting by post.

Ahead of a specific election the deadline for applying will be 5pm, six working days before the date of the election.

If you apply for an Anonymous Electors Document after this date you will not be able to use your Anonymous Electors Document at that election.

Unlike Voter Authority Certificates, an anonymous elector registered in two or more locations, or one who move authority, will require a different Anonymous Electors’ Document for each location. 

This is because the electoral register number displayed on the Anonymous Electors’ Document will be unique to each local authority that the Anonymous Elector has registered to vote with. Anonymous electors will need to make separate applications to each of the relevant local authorities. 

An anonymous elector’s poll card will show their electoral register number, so if they have multiple Anonymous Electors’ Documents, they will know which one they must use to vote in a particular location.

You will need to apply for a new Anonymous Electors’ Documents each year when your Anonymous registration expires, and you renew it.

If you have an Anonymous Electors’ Document and your Elector number changes during the validity period, e.g., when the electoral register is published in December, the ERO will issue your Anonymous Electors Document bearing the correct Elector number. 

If your Anonymous Electors’ Document has been lost, stolen, destroyed or damaged after 5pm, six working days before polling day than you must contact the Electoral Services Office as soon as possible. We can issue you with a replacement Anonymous Elector’s document up until 5pm on polling day. We will inform you when and at what times the Anonymous Elector’s Document is ready to collect in person from the Council Offices. You must bring your Certificate of Anonymous Registration when collecting your Anonymous Electors’ Document so that we can verify your identity.

For more information visit applying for a Voter Authority Certificate