What do I need to vote in the 2024 local election in Cambridgeshire - voter ID explainer

Polling station sign hanging on a tree.
People need to make sure they bring an accepted form of photo ID with them when they go to vote. -Credit:Yui Mok/PA Wire

There are a few important things people need to do and rules to follow when casting their votes in the local elections this year. These rules include bringing an accepted form of photo ID that voters will be required to show to polling station staff before they will be allowed to vote.

There are three sets of elections taking place in Cambridgeshire this week (Thursday, May 2), including for Cambridge City Council, Peterborough City Council, and for the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner. The city councils are responsible for providing a number of services including waste collection, running leisure facilities, providing council housing, and making planning decisions.

In Peterborough, the city council is also a unitary authority, which means it has additional responsibilities such as road maintenance, social care, and education. People across the county will also be asked to vote for who they want to be the next PCC. The role of the elected PCC is to hold the Chief Constable and the county’s police force to account.

Read more: All the candidates standing in Cambridge local elections 2024

Read more: All the candidates in the running to be the next Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner

They are also expected to work in partnership across a range of agencies, both regionally and nationally, to make sure there is a coordinated approach to preventing and reducing crime. Here are some of the rules around voting in polling stations and things people may need to know before heading out to cast their vote.

When do I go to vote?

Polling stations open at 7am in the morning and will remain open until 10pm in the evening. If there is a queue at the polling station people will still be able to vote as long as they joined the queue before 10pm. People who are registered to vote should have been sent a polling card ahead of the election day to say which polling station they should vote at.

Do I need to take ID to vote?

Yes, people will be asked to show an accepted form of photo ID to polling station staff before they will be allowed to cast their vote. The forms of ID that will be accepted include passports, driving licence, a blue badge, and some forms of travel passes. A separate area will be available within the polling station for people who would like their ID to be viewed in private. People without an accepted form of ID were able to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate to use instead. Anyone who goes to a polling station without ID will be asked to leave and come back with some ID before they will be given their ballot paper.

My Voter Authority Certificate has not arrived, what do I do?

People without an accepted form of photo ID who applied for a Voter Authority Certificate before the deadline, but have not yet received it, can still vote. However, they will have to apply for a temporary certificate and are advised to contact the relevant election team for further advice.

If I am wearing a face covering will I have to remove it to vote?

People will be asked to remove a face covering, such as a mask worn on medical grounds or a face veil worn on religious grounds, when polling station staff check the ID. The Electoral Commission has said people can ask for the ID to be checked in private, and it is also possible to ask for a female member of staff to check ID, which should be granted if possible. A mirror should also be available at the polling station to allow people to replace their face covering once their ID has been checked.

Do I need to take a pen to vote?

Pencils will be provided at the polling station, but people can bring their own if they prefer.

Do I need to take my poll card with me?

People do not need to take their polling card with them when they go to vote, at the polling station they will be asked for their name and address to check they are on the electoral register. However, if someone has registered to vote anonymously they will be asked to show their poll card alongside an anonymous elector’s document.

Can I take my dog with me when I vote?

Dogs will not be allowed inside the polling station and will need to be left secured outside when people go in to cast their vote. However, assistance dogs will be allowed inside.

Can I take a selfie when I vote?

Taking photos inside a polling station is not allowed as it could risk the secrecy of the ballot. However, people can take pictures outside of the polling station.

What do I do if I can not make it to the polling station?

People who can not make it to a polling station to vote, but have not already applied for a postal vote, or a proxy vote, may be able to apply for an emergency proxy vote. Anyone who has a medical emergency, is away for work, or whose photo ID is lost, stolen, destroyed, or damaged, can apply for an emergency proxy vote up until 5pm.