Deadline looms to apply for emergency photo ID for local elections

Anyone without the correct form of photo ID to take part in next week’s local elections in England has only a few hours left to apply for a special certificate.

It is the first time that photo identification has been compulsory for elections in England, but only certain kinds of ID will be accepted.

A passport, driving licence photocard or blue badge are all valid, as well as an older person’s bus pass.

People who do not have any of the correct forms of ID need to apply for a voter authority certificate by 5pm on Tuesday.

This can be done online at

The Government has estimated that around 4% of the population of Britain are unlikely to have a valid form of photo ID to vote – the equivalent of just over two million people.

There have been 80,821 online applications for a certificate since the scheme opened on January 16 this year, figures show.

More than 8,000 council seats in England are up for grabs on May 4 across 230 local authorities, ranging from small rural areas to some of the largest towns and cities.

Polls are also taking place to choose mayors in Bedford, Leicester, Mansfield and Middlesbrough.

Ailsa Irvine, director of electoral administration and guidance at the Electoral Commission, told the PA news agency: “Voters will be required to show photo ID at polling stations at the May elections. If you do not already have an accepted form, today at 5pm is the deadline for applying for free voter ID.

“Applicants must be registered to vote, and will need to provide date of birth, national insurance number and a photograph with their application.

POLITICS Elections Guide
(PA Graphics)

“The process doesn’t take long and can be done online through or by submitting a paper form to your local authority.

“Time is of the essence now, so do not delay in getting your application in.”

The average number of applications per day for voter authority certificates stood at 1,941 in the week to April 24, up from 1,735 the previous week.

Some 3,536 applications were submitted on Monday April 24, the highest number on a single day so far.

Just 6% of all applications have been made by people under 25, while 3% have come from those aged 75 and over.

Applications from 55 to 64-year-olds account for nearly a third (32%) of the total, followed by 45 to 54-year-olds (23%), 35 to 44-year-olds (16%), 65 to 74-year-olds (10%) and 25 to 34-year-olds (10%).

The Government’s introduction of compulsory photo ID has been branded “expensive” and “unnecessary” by Labour and sparked concern among electoral reform campaigners, who say it could make it harder for some voters to cast their ballot.

The Electoral Commission said extra staff will be deployed at some polling stations to make sure voters are aware of the new rules and to help manage queues.

Tuesday is also the deadline for people to apply for a proxy vote for next week’s local elections.

A proxy vote is when somebody is authorised to cast a vote on another person’s behalf, if they are unable to get to the polling station in person.

Applications for proxy votes need to be submitted by 5pm.