Cheshire West and Chester Council is reminding voters in Thursday’s elections that they will need photo ID if they are voting in a polling station.
Thursday, 4 May, is the first date electors in England will need to show an acceptable form of photo identification before they are issued with a ballot paper at a polling station.
This change has been made by the UK Government as part of the Elections Act 2022.
Andrew Lewis, Returning Officer said, “Election staff are committed to ensuring that everyone entitled to vote is able to do so. But the new ID requirements mean that, regrettably, people who do not show a valid ID cannot vote. Presiding Officers at our polling stations have no discretion to wave this requirement. So please do remember to bring photo ID from the approved list, and make sure you exercise your right to vote.”
Only original documents are acceptable – scanned images, pictures on mobile phones or copies will not be accepted. Electors can still use a photo ID if it’s out of date, as long as it’s still a good likeness. The name on the photo ID shown at the polling station should be the same name the elector has used to register to vote. If the names are different, polling staff may ask to see additional documentation such as a marriage certificate, divorce papers, deed poll paperwork, a birth certificate, or a bill.
720 electors from Cheshire West and Chester applied and been issued with Voter Authentication Certificates, with the deadline for applications now passed.
A Presiding Officer can refuse to issue a ballot paper if they have reasonable doubt about the authenticity of any photo ID. They will advise the elector to return with an alternative form of accepted photographic ID. The Returning Officer will be made aware of any cases of suspected forged ID and can refer these to the police.
Any elector who is turned away from a polling station because they don’t have an accepted form of photo ID with them can return later on polling day. If they are then able to show an accepted form of photo ID, they will be issued with a ballot paper.
Any elector can ask to show their photo ID in a private area of the polling station. This will include electors who are wearing any kind of face covering. A mirror will be available for these electors to be able to fix their face covering before returning to the main part of the polling station where they will be issued with a ballot paper.
Where electors request that a female carries out an ID check, a female member of polling station staff will be asked to do this. Polling station teams will include female members of staff where possible, or will be able to contact other election staff such as Polling Station Inspectors. These team members will be authorised to check photographic ID and on call to attend polling stations at short notice.
Proxy voters, who are authorised by another elector to vote on their behalf, will have to show their own accepted form of photo ID before they are allowed to make a proxy vote. They do not need to show ID for the person they are a proxy for.
You can find out more about acceptable versions of Photo ID on the Council’s website. Photo ID at polling stations from May 2023 | Cheshire West and Chester Council