Martin Lewis issues photo ID warning ahead of local elections - how to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has issued a warning ahead of the May elections

Money-Saving Expert Martin Lewis issued an urgent warning as a major change is to come into force at local elections this spring. From May 4, people  in the UK will only be allowed to vote at polling stations if they have a valid photo ID.

This means that people who turn up to vote without ID will be sent away and unable to cast their vote. However, people who do not own a photo ID such as a driving licence or passport can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate instead.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Martin Lewis tweeted: "Important. For the first time from May’s local elections in England, Scotland, Wales, you WON’T BE ALLOWED TO VOTE without ID."

Lewis also tweeted his Money-Saving Expert guide, he added: "Please share (including offline) with those who may not have."

In April 2022, the Elections Act 2022 was passed by the UK Parliament to require voters in Great Britain to show photo ID before being issued a ballot paper in polling stations at UK Parliamentary elections, local council elections and referendums in England and police and crime commissioner elections in England and Wales. Proxy voters, voting on behalf of someone else will also need to take their own ID with them to the polling station.

Martin Lewis pictured on set of The Martin Lewis Money Show, gesturing to the audience (Credit: Multistory Media/Jonathan Hordle/ITV)Martin Lewis pictured on set of The Martin Lewis Money Show, gesturing to the audience (Credit: Multistory Media/Jonathan Hordle/ITV)
Martin Lewis pictured on set of The Martin Lewis Money Show, gesturing to the audience (Credit: Multistory Media/Jonathan Hordle/ITV) | Multistory Media/Jonathan Hordle/ITV

The new rule comes after the Electoral Commission published a report on electoral fraud in the UK in 2014. The government website says there was no evidence to suggest there have been widespread, systematic attempts to undermine or interfere with recent elections through electoral fraud. However, it did find that the lack of a requirement to show ID at polling stations was an “actual and a perceived weakness” of the UK electoral system.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If you do not have any valid ID, do not worry as you still have a chance to vote by applying for a Voter Authority Certificate. The certificate can be issued with just a digital photo and your National Insurance number to ensure everyone still has access to vote.

Types of elections requiring photo ID

  • UK Parliament by-elections
  • local elections in England (including councils, mayors, the Greater London Authority and parishes)
  • recall of MP petitions in England, Scotland and Wales
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales
  • neighbourhood planning referendums and Business Improvement District referendums in England
  • local authority referendums in England (including Council Tax increase referendums)
Voting in elections has never before required any form of IDVoting in elections has never before required any form of ID
Voting in elections has never before required any form of ID

Valid photo ID at elections

  • a UK or Northern Ireland photocard driving licence (full or provisional)
  • a driving licence issued by the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Isle of Man or any of the Channel Islands
  • a UK passport
  • a passport issued by the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or a Commonwealth country
  • a PASS card (National Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • a Blue Badge
  • a biometric residence permit (BRP)
  • a Defence Identity Card (MOD form 90)
  • a national identity card issued by the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
  • a Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card
  • a Voter Authority Certificate
  • an Anonymous Elector’s Document

How to vote without ID - Voter Authority Certificate - how to apply

If you do not have a valid photo ID you can apply for a voter authority certificate. It is free of charge and you will just need a recent, digital photo of yourself and your national Insurance Number. However, if you are using this service, you will need to apply for your certificate ahead of the election using the government website.

To receive a Voter Authority Certificate that you will be able to use to vote in the May 4 elections, your application must be received by your local Electoral Registration Office before 5pm on April 25 2023.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.