Photo ID requirement could ‘exclude voters’

LOCAL elections on May 4 will be the first UK polls in which voters will need to show photo identification, but this requirement could end up excluding some people from the voting process – particularly the old and the young.

In a recent meeting held by Soroptimist International Tunbridge Wells & District, attendees highlighted several groups that could end up disenfranchised by the requirement to carry specific types of photographic identification.

Dr Amelia Dowler told the Times: “Specific concerns expressed for older voters include the lack of digital skills to apply for the Voter Authority Certificate provided by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council (TWBC).

“For younger voters, there are fewer options for suitable photo ID, and many will not have a driving licence or a passport,” she said.

In addition, some voters may not realise in time that their passports have expired.

“There is at present a ten-week processing time for anyone renewing a passport [which would leave them without a document during the wait],” Dowler warned.

Only certain types of ID will be accepted at a polling station:

  • Passport (UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, British Overseas Territory, EEA state or Commonwealth country)
  • Driving licence issued by any of the same authorities (except the Commonwealth). A provisional license is acceptable.
  • National identity card issued by an EEA state
  • Biometric immigration document
  • A Blue Badge
  • Concessionary travel pass funded by HM Government or local authority, such as a Kent County Council Bus Pass or Disabled Person’s Bus Pass
  • Identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
  • Anonymous Elector’s Document

If you don’t have any of the accepted documents, you can apply for a free voter ID, known as a Voter Authority Certificate.

To apply, you will need a recent digital photo of yourself and your National Insurance number (or if you do not have this, another proof of identity, such as a birth certificate, bank statement or utility bill).

If you cannot apply for the Voter Authority Certificate online, you can make an appointment for a Council officer to help you make the application in person. The process will take place at The Amelia Scott, but an appointment is required. Contact 01892 554 024 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm) or

If you cannot get to a polling station, you can apply for a proxy vote. The proxy voter will have to show their photo ID to vote on your behalf, but will not have to show your ID.

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