The 2022 Act
As a result of the Elections Act 2022, you will lose your right to vote if you do not have certain types of photo ID by the 4 May 2023. If that’s the case, you must apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.
The act was introduced to stop voter fraud. Given that in 2022, the Electoral Commission stated: “the UK has low levels of electoral fraud,” it appears the act was introduced to put an end to a crime that rarely took place.
Data from March 2023 shows that from the 2022 elections across the UK, only one case was taken to court, 64% of potential fraud cases related to campaign offences,13 cases were for alleged personation fraud at a polling station, through postal votes or by proxy, and 12 of these were all resolved or no further action was deemed necessary. A single postal vote is still under investigation.
A new system
According to Norwich City Council, the uptake for the new Voter ID system is low. “There have been various estimates around the numbers of people who might not have photo ID – and so theoretically could need the free Voter Authority Certificate – that have ranged from 2-6%. Taking that upper figure, this could mean in Norwich around 6,000 people. The truth is the actual number is not known.”
Without Voter ID you won’t be able to vote. To vote, first of all you must be on the local electoral roll. Polling cards are being delivered though the post now so if you haven’t received one – 17 April is the deadline for signing up to the electoral register.
Should you opt to vote by post then your application to vote in this way must be returned to your local council, to the electoral registration officer, not a local political party’s constituency office as recently revealed in East Anglia Bylines. Check that the application’s return envelope has the correct address and will go directly to the council. The application for a postal vote must be returned by Tuesday 18 April.
A spokesperson for Norwich City Council said: “The Electoral Commission guidance for campaigners is clear that the Electoral Registration Officer’s address should be identified as the preferred address and applications should be handed on within two days.”
You should receive your postal ballot pack containing your ballot which will be sent out after all the candidates are declared, this is usually about three weeks before polling day. To be valid your postal ballot must be received by 10pm on Thursday 4 May.
If you have any queries about your postal vote, then your local Electoral registration officer will be able to help.
Types of acceptable photo ID
Those with a passport, driving licence, or an older person’s bus pass, can use these methods of identification at their local polling station. Labour councillor for Norwich, Crome ward, Claire Kidman, also added, “expired passports are OK as long as the passport photo is recognisable. Young people’s photo ID bus passes are not acceptable.” An ID card issued by an EU state is also recognised.
Anyone who doesn’t have any photographic ID will have to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. This certificate is free of charge, and you will need to provide your name and address, your NI number, your date of birth, and a photograph.
The deadline for these applications is 25 April. Norwich city council have reported a very low uptake so far with only 149 applications.
Don’t be disenfranchised, if you need it, apply for your Voter Authority Certificate, today.