Voter ID Information
Important information about changes to voting England and Wales: Voter ID Resource_Voter Booklet Print Colour English_May 23_Group 1
On Thursday 4 May 2023 residents in South Staffordshire will go to the polls to have their say on who represents them at The District and Parish Elections.
For the first time at any Election in the UK Voters will have to show photo ID to vote at a polling station. For those who do not have any form of Photo ID they can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate Apply for photo ID to vote (called a ‘Voter Authority Certificate’) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Information about Voter ID can be found on Voter ID | Electoral Commission
Frequently Asked Questions
When is the election? What elections are taking place?
On Thursday 4 May, residents in South Staffordshire will be voting in the District and Parish Council elections.
How can I vote at the May 2023 elections?
There are a number of ways to have your say in May – you can vote in a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, known as a proxy vote.
How do I register to vote?
To vote in any election in the UK, you must be registered to vote. It takes 5 minutes to register and you can do this online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
How can I apply to vote by post or proxy?
To vote in the elections – either at a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf as your proxy – you must first be registered to vote. To then apply to vote by post you need to download, print and fill in a postal vote application form. Once you have completed the form and signed it, you need to send it to us.
If you’re thinking about voting by post, you can apply to do this now. This will make sure your application is processed early, and your postal vote can be sent to you more quickly once the candidates for the elections are confirmed. Apply to vote by post | Electoral Commission
If you aren’t able to cast your vote in person, you can ask someone you trust to cast your vote for you. This is called a proxy vote and the person casting your vote is often referred to as your proxy. The person voting on your behalf can either go to your polling station to cast your vote or can apply to vote for you by post.
To apply for a proxy vote, complete the form to vote by proxy, explaining why you can’t get to your polling station in person. Apply to vote by proxy | Electoral Commission
All forms are available www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter or you can request a form at Elections@sstaffs.gov.uk
Is voting by post safe?
Yes, voting by post is safe and proven cases of electoral fraud are rare. When voting by post, you should mark your vote on the ballot paper in secret and seal the envelope yourself. You will also be asked to give your date of birth and signature when applying for a postal or proxy vote. This makes postal voting safe, because when you return your postal voting pack your signature and date of birth are checked against those you provided before to confirm your identity.
Your signature and date of birth are separated from your ballot paper before it is looked at or counted, so giving this information will not affect the secrecy of your vote.
Where is my polling station?
Prior to every election polling cards are sent to all registered electors containing details of how to vote, where and when to vote.
Your polling station can also be found on our website. (when the website is switched over we will send updated version with new link)
I have lost my polling card, can I still vote?
If you have lost your poll card, just go to your polling station and tell the staff inside your full name and address, show them your photo ID and you will be able to vote.
If you are unsure where to vote contact us or visit our website Polling Stations South Staffordshire Council (sstaffs.gov.uk) (this webpage link will be updated)
What time are the polling stations open?
Polling Stations are open on the day of poll from 7am-10pm.
I cannot get to a polling station, how can I vote?
If you cannot get to the polling station you can apply for a postal or proxy vote, subject to submitting an application form before the deadlines.
Deadline to apply for a postal vote – 11 working days before date of Poll – 18th April
Deadline to apply for a proxy vote – 6 working days before date of Poll – 25th April
In certain circumstances, where you have an emergency that means you can’t vote in person, you can apply for an emergency proxy, to allow someone you trust to vote on your behalf at your polling station. This must be due to reasons that you weren’t aware of before the Proxy Voting deadline (6 working days before the day of Poll).
You may be able to request an emergency proxy if one of the following applies:
You are away for work.
Your photo ID is lost, stolen, destroyed or damaged, and the deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate has passed. This form can also be used if your Anonymous Elector’s Document is lost, stolen, destroyed or damaged.
These applications can be made up to 5pm on polling day
I opted for a postal vote but I don’t want to post it or it’s too late to post it
You can deliver your postal vote pack (with ballot paper) to your local polling station (within your electoral ward) during polling hours (7am to 10pm).
You can also return it to the Council Offices (South Staffordshire Council office, Codsall, WV8 1PX) during the run up to polling day but be sure you do this before 10pm on the day of Poll. Postal votes received after 10pm will not be counted.
Where can I get my postal vote sent?
A postal vote can be sent to your home address or to any other address that you give. Postal Votes can be sent overseas, but you need to consider whether there will be enough time to receive and return your ballot paper by election day. In some instances, a Proxy vote may be more appropriate for overseas voters where voters do not wish to rely on Overseas air mailing services.
Can anyone vote?
To vote in elections and referendums you must be 18 or over. You must also be a British, British Overseas Territory, Irish or Commonwealth citizen. Your name must also be on the Electoral Register, otherwise even if you meet the above criteria, you will not be able to vote.
I have not received any information about the candidates or parties, how can I make an informed decision?
In the lead up to an election, the details of the candidates will be shown on the Notice of Poll, which will be displayed on the election page on the website. Information regarding the candidates is the responsibility of the individuals or parties concerned, so if you have not heard anything you would need to contact them. Electoral Services are not able to provide any information on the candidates.
Is my HNL/recent letter from the Council missing information on the 2nd page/back of the letter?
Due to an external printing error information about Voter ID was missing of the HNL. A separate Leaflet/Letter will be coming out at the end of March providing more detail on Voter ID. Alternatively information can be found on the electoral commission’s website about Voter ID electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID.
Please see bellow if they ask any follow up questions about Voter ID
VOTER ID SPECIFIC FAQ
From May 2023, voters across England will need to show photo ID to vote in person in a polling station, following new requirements introduced by the Elections Act. A new form of free ID, the Voter Authority Certificate, will be available for those who do not have another type of accepted ID.
This document answers frequently asked questions on how voter ID will be implemented for the first time. There is more information on the Electoral Commission’s website at electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID.
At which elections will there be a requirement to show photo ID?
From May, voters will need to show photo ID before voting in local council elections in England, police and crime commissioner elections in England and Wales, and in any parliamentary by-elections. From 5 October 2023, voters will need photo ID at UK parliamentary general elections.
It will not be required at local elections in Scotland or Wales, or elections to Scottish Parliament or Senedd. The requirement already exists in Northern Ireland.
Which forms of ID are acceptable?
Accepted forms of ID include:
• 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, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state
• Some concessionary travel pass, such as an Older Person’s Bus Pass or an Oyster 60+ card
People will be able to use expired photo ID if they are still recognisable from the photo. There is more information on the Electoral Commission’s website on all the accepted types of ID at electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID.
If you do use an expired form of ID and it has a previously used name it can be accepted as long as you bring supporting evidence of the name change.
Why isn’t [other form of ID] accepted?
The law specifies the types of documents that are accepted forms of ID. These have been decided by the UK Government.
If needed: The UK Government has provided more information about which forms of ID are accepted and which are not, along with the criteria considered. You can find that on gov.uk.
Can Photocopies of ID be used?
Only original copies of Photo ID can be used. No photocopies or pictures of ID on phones will be accepted.
What will happen if a voter goes to the polling station with no accepted identification?
If a voter turns up at a polling station with no accepted photo identification, they will not be issued with a ballot paper and will need to return with an accepted form of photo identification.
What if a voter doesn’t want to show ID to vote?
If a voter would prefer not to show ID at a polling station, they can apply to vote by post or proxy. Photo ID isn’t required to apply or vote by post or proxy. Though, their proxy will be required to show their photo ID at the polling station.
For the May 2023 elections, the deadline for applying for a postal vote is 18 April 2023, and the deadline for proxy is 25 April 2023.
What are you doing about those without ID?
We are working to ensure that anyone without an accepted form of ID is aware of the free ID available and understands how to apply for it.
The Electoral Commission is running a national public awareness campaign, which we are supporting through engagement with our network of officers, members and local residents.
Who is the Voter Authority Certificate for?
It is for anyone who doesn’t have any form of accepted photo ID. People will be able to use expired photo ID if they are still recognisable from the photo and will not need a Voter Authority Certificate. If you do use an expired form of ID and it has a previously used name it can be accepted as long as you bring supporting evidence of the name change.
What will the Voter Authority Certificate/ free ID application process look like?
Voters can apply for free voter ID online at voter-authority-certificate.service.gov.uk/ or by completing and posting a paper form to their local council’s electoral services team. Some local authorities may accept applications in person. Voters will need to provide a photograph, their date of birth and National Insurance number as part of the application.
Anyone who needs voter ID to vote in the May 2023 elections, must apply by 5pm on Tuesday 25 April.
What sort of Photograph needs to be provided on the application?
Your photo must be:
• of you facing forward and looking straight at the camera
• a close up of your head and shoulders, without any head covering, unless you wear one for religious beliefs or medical reasons. Your face must not be covered for any reason.
• of you with a plain facial expression and with your eyes open and clearly visible (for example without sunglasses and not obscured with hair). Please note this does not apply if you are unable to provide a photograph which complies with either or both of those requirements due to any disability.
If you are unable to meet the requirements due to a disability, then please speak with your local council.
The photo must:
• be a true likeness
• be in colour
• be taken against a plain, light background
• be in sharp focus and clear
• be free from ‘redeye’, shadows which obscure the face, or reflection
• not be damaged
If you apply online, the photo must be:
• at least 750 pixels in height and 600 pixels in width
• contained in an electronic file which is no more than 20MB in size
If you apply using a paper form, the photo must be:
• at least 45 millimetres in height and 35 millimetres in width
• no larger than 297 millimetres in height or 210 millimetres in width.
What information is included on the Voter Authority Certificate/ free ID?
The free ID will show a voter’s full name and photograph, the issuing local council, an appropriate identifier (reference including numbers and letters allocated by the council), the date of issue and a recommended renewal date.
How long will it take for my Voter Authority Certificate application take to be processed?
An officer at the council will try and process your application as soon as possible. Once the application has been accepted it is estimated to take between 2 weeks to arrive at your place of residence.
What if I can’t get the Voter Authority Certificate delivered to a place of residence?
The Voter Authority Certificate can be collected from your authority’s council offices. However, a valid reason for this collection must be provided in the application and approved by a Council officer.
How does this impact voting by post or proxy?
Voters will not need to show photo ID in order to apply by post or proxy. Although the proxy will need to show their photo ID at the polling station.
For the May 2023 elections, the deadline to apply for a postal vote is 18 April and the deadline for proxy is 25 April.
Will voter ID disenfranchise people?
We are working to ensure people are aware of the change, understand which forms of ID are accepted, and for those without, how and when to apply for free ID. Our aim is to support those who wish to vote to do so successfully and with confidence.
Do I need ID if I am an Anonymous voter?
If you’re registered to vote anonymously and want to vote in person, you’ll need to apply for an Anonymous Elector’s Document.
You should apply as soon as possible in case your local council need to check any details with you.
If you are already registered as an anonymous voter, or you register to vote anonymously, you will be invited to apply for an Anonymous Elector’s Document by your local council.
Information you will need to provide as part of your application
When applying for an Anonymous Elector’s Document, you will need to provide your
• date of birth
• National Insurance number
If you don’t know your National Insurance number, or don’t have one, you can still apply.
Your council will contact you to request alternative proof of your identity. This could include a birth certificate, bank statement and utility bill.
If you don’t have any other accepted proof of identity, then you can ask someone who knows you to confirm your identity to your electoral services team. This is known as providing an attestation.
Your local council can provide more information on who can provide an attestation