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Elections Act: Changes to Elections

The UK government is making changes to elections and the way you vote. Some of these changes came in to force on 4 May 2023 and others will be implemented over 2023/24. These changes include the requirement to show ID at polling stations; changes to postal and proxy voting; improving the accessibility of elections; the rights to vote and stand in elections for EU Citizens and changes to overseas voting.

What does this mean for you?

Photographic Voter ID

  • If you vote at a polling station, you are now required to show an accepted form of photographic identification before you receive your ballot paper.
  • There are no exceptions to this requirement and includes those who are registered as anonymous electors. 
  • If you are a Proxy, you will need to show your photographic ID. You will not be required to show ID for the person you are acting as a proxy for.
  • You will need to show just one of the accepted forms of photo ID. If you don't have an accepted form of photo ID, you can apply for a free voter ID document, which is known as a Voter Authority Certificate.

View accepted forms of photo ID

Apply for Voter Authority Certificate

  • Please note: If you vote by post, you do not require Voter ID because your identification is verified by your signature and date of birth.

Visit the Electoral Commissions website for more information on Voter ID.

Polling station accessibility 

  • If you have a disability, anyone over the age of 18 will be able to accompany you at your local polling station, and you will be provided additional support.

Visit the Electoral Commissions website for more information on improving the accessibility of elections.

Absent Voting (Voting by post or proxy)

  • An online system will launch on 31 October 2023 which lets you apply for an absent vote online.
  • If you're applying for an absent vote, you'll need to provide proof of your identity.
  • The existing secrecy requirements will be extended to postal and proxy votes.
  • If you vote by post, you must make a new application every 3 years. Currently, you must refresh your signature every 5 years.
  • Political parties and campaigners will be banned from handling postal votes.
  • If you're handing in postal votes at a polling station, you will only be allowed to hand in a maximum of 6.
  • You will only be able to act as a proxy for up to 4 people.

Visit the Electoral Commissions website for more information on changes to postal voting.

Visit the Electoral Commissions website for more information on changes to proxy voting.

Rights of EU citizens

  • If you are an EU citizen, you will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote, or stand for election.
  • Two groups of EU citizens will keep these rights: 'qualifying EU citizens' and 'EU citizens with retained rights'.

Visit the Electoral Commissions website for more information on changes for EU Citizens.

Overseas Voting

  • The 15-year limit on voting for British citizens living abroad will end. If you are a British citizen previously registered to vote in the UK, or who has previously lived in the UK, you will be able to register to vote, regardless of how long you have lived abroad.
  • If you are a British citizen living abroad, you will no longer have to register as an overseas voter every year. Instead, you will have to register every 3 years.

Visit the Electoral Commissions website for more information on changes to overseas voting.

Preventing undue influence and intimidation

Digital imprints

  • Campaigners will be required to include imprints on their digital political campaign material.

Last updated: 20/10/2023 16:04