Confused about Voter ID? Here’s everything you need to know ahead of polling day to make sure your vote counts

Best for Britain polling shows that 16% of voters don’t know about new voter ID rules. This could mean up to 5 million Brits turned away from the ballot when trying to cast their vote at the upcoming local and General Elections. 

If you’re a bit confused (and understandably so!) don’t worry, here’s all the information you need to make sure you can cast your vote and make your voice heard.

What are the voter ID requirements in the UK?

Under the Elections Act 2022, voters are now required to present photo ID in order to vote in person at certain elections. This applies to: 

  • UK parliamentary elections,  including general elections, by-elections and recall petitions
  • Local elections and by-elections
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections

What forms of voter ID are acceptable? 

The Government has issued a list of acceptable forms of voter ID, which can be found below. Don’t worry if your photo ID has expired. As long as it still resembles you and the name on it is the same one you used to register to vote, it will be accepted. 

A number of groups have criticised the selective nature of the list, including the House of Lords which voted in favour of an amendment to expand it. However, their proposal was defeated. 




Workplace ID card

Driving licence 

Student ID card

Blue Badge

Young Person’s Bus pass

Identity card bearing the proof of age standards scheme hologram (a PASS card)

18+ student Oyster photocard

Biometric immigration document

Young Scot National Entitlement card

Ministry of defence identity card

National Insurance card

National identity card, issued by EEA state

Library card 

Electoral identity card issued in Northern Ireland


Anonymous Elector’s Document


Travel card, including: 

  • Older person’s bus pass funded by the government
  • Disabled person’s bus pass funded by the government
  • 60+ London Oyster photo card funded by TfL
  • Freedom pass
  • Scottish National Entitlement card
  • 60 and over Welsh concessionary travel card
  • Disabled Person’s Welsh concessionary travel card
  • Senior SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Person’s SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • War Disablement SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • 60+ SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland


How to apply for voter ID if you don’t already have one?

If you don’t already have a valid form of voter ID, if your old ID no longer looks like you or if there’s a detail on your ID which you no longer identify with, then you can get a free voter ID, in the form of a Voter Authority Certificate, through the Electoral Commission

The deadline has already passed to apply for a free ID in time for the local elections on Thursday 2 May, but there is still plenty of time to sign up for a free ID ahead of the upcoming General Election. 

To apply you will need a recent, digital photo of yourself and your National Insurance number. If you don't know your National Insurance number, or don’t have one, you can provide other forms of proof of identity.

It’s crucially important to spread the word to friends, family and colleagues, as new research shows that 27% of people still don’t know they can apply for a free ID. Yikes. 

What happens if you turn up to vote with the wrong ID or without an ID? 

If you turn up to vote with the wrong ID or without an ID, you will be turned away at the polling station and asked to return with an acceptable form of ID. 

For many this won’t be possible, either because they don’t have an acceptable form of ID, or because they simply don’t have the time to run home and get one. 

In the May 2023 local elections, 14,000 people were turned away from polling stations, unable to vote. Best for Britain polling shows that this figure could be as high as 5 million at the upcoming General Election if awareness around the new rules hasn’t improved before then. 

When was voter ID introduced in the UK? 

Voter ID was introduced under the Elections Act 2022 and came into effect for the first time in the May 2023 local elections. 

Why was voter ID introduced in the UK? 

The Government claims Voter ID is necessary to prevent in-person voter fraud, but there is virtually no evidence of mass in person voter fraud occurring in Britain. 

Data shows that in all the elections held in 2023, there were only two allegations of ‘personation’ at polling stations, with no further action taken against either as no offence was found to have been committed. In 2022 there were only seven allegations, and again no further action was taken. 

Many believe that the introduction of Voter ID was an attempt by the Conservative Government to disenfranchise millions of voters less likely to vote for them - such as young people -  by introducing new and unnecessary obstacles. With the high number of marginal and hyper-marginal seats expected at the general election, the disenfranchisement of such groups could have a significant impact on the results, and ultimately the difference between deliverance or defeat for many top Tories including the Prime Minister himself.

This was all but confirmed by Jacob Rees Mogg in May last year, when he explained: “Parties that try and gerrymander end up finding their clever scheme comes back to bite them, as dare I say we found by insisting on voter ID for elections.” 

This is also indicated by the carefully curated and unjustifiably arbitrary list of acceptable forms of voter ID. While older voters have a larger number of ID options, there are relatively few for young people. For example, an older person’s oyster photocard is acceptable but a young person’s oyster travelcard is not. The Government has not given any reasoning for this decision despite widespread condemnation.

How might the introduction of Voter ID impact marginalised communities?

The introduction of Voter ID will undoubtedly stop a number of people from voting. But this will disproportionately be the case for those already marginalised and under-represented in our political system.

Indeed, research shows that more disadvantaged groups are less likely to have photo ID. The government’s own commissioned research found that those with severely limiting disabilities, the unemployed, people without qualifications, and those who had never voted before were all less likely to hold any form of photo ID.

How much will the introduction of voter ID cost?

The Government’s own figures suggest the implementation and running of the scheme will cost up to £18 million extra every year. 

What happens if you want to vote by post or proxy? 

You will not need to provide a photo ID or a Voter Authority Certificate to vote by post as there are other identification checks.

You can also vote by proxy, which is when someone else casts your vote for you.  If you decide to do this, the person you choose to vote on your behalf will need to show their own photo ID to cast your vote. Your ID will not need to be shown.

What happens if you want to vote anonymously? 

If you think your name and address being on the electoral register could impact your safety – or the safety of someone else in your household – you can vote anonymously so your details are not shown on the electoral register.

To do this, you have to apply for an anonymous elector’s document. The deadline to do this for the May 2 local elections has passed, but there is still time to apply ahead of the General Election. 

What should you expect if you wear a face covering?

If you wear a face covering for any reason, including medical or religious, you will be asked to momentarily remove it so polling station staff can check that you look like your photo ID. 

You can ask for a female member of staff to check your ID if you would prefer, and the polling station staff will accommodate this if possible. Alternatively, if you would prefer not to have your ID checked in public, then there will be spaces available in the polling station for you to have your ID checked in private. A mirror will be available so you can replace your face covering once your ID has been checked. 

Face coverings can be worn for the rest of the voting process.