Changes introduced by the Election Act 2022

The Elections Act will make big changes to the way elections are run going forward. These include the requirement to show photo ID in a polling station when you vote, as well as changes for overseas electors and EU nationals. 

Not all the changes have been announced yet, so this page will be updated as and when they are announced. It includes all the information that we know now. 

Some of the changes introduced by the Act are as follows:

From 4 May 2023 onwards, the Elections Act 2022 requires voters to show photographic identification at polling stations before they are given a ballot paper.

If you don’t already have any of the accepted forms of photographic identification (listed below), you will be able to apply either in person, by post or online, for a Voter Authority Certificate - a free photographic identification document specific for the purposes of voting – and in good time ahead of voter identification first being required in polling stations.

Applications for Voter Authority Certificates are not yet open; a public communications campaign will be run once the application service is live. Please check our website for updates on when the Voter Authority Certificate application process will start and how you can apply.

Acceptable forms of photographic identification will include:

  • A passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
  • A driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or an EEA state
  • A biometric immigration document
  • An identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
  • A Blue Badge
  • A national identity card issued by an EEA state
  • An Older Person’s Bus Pass
  • A Disabled Person’s Bus Pass
  • An Oyster 60+ Card
  • A Freedom Pass
  • A Scottish National Entitlement Card issued in Scotland
  • A 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card issued in Wales
  • A Disabled Person’s Welsh Concessionary Travel Card issued in Wales
  • A Senior SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Person’s SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A War Disablement SmartPass or War Disabled SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A 60+ SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • A Half Fare SmartPass issued in Northern Ireland
  • An Electoral Identity Card issued in Northern Ireland
  • A Voter Authority Certificate or a temporary Voter Authority Certificate

If your photographic identification document has expired it will still be accepted as long as the photograph is still a good likeness of you.

Will come into force for the May 2023 Local Elections

The new law will make it easier for people with disabilities to vote. Proposals are for anyone over 18 to act as a companion to a voter with a disability. Returning Officer’s will take all reasonable steps to support voters with disabilities to improve the range and quality of support.

Will come into force for the May 2023 Local Elections

  • When you apply for a Postal Vote you will need to provide proof of your identity.
  • An online system will be set up which allows you to apply for a Postal Vote.
  • You will need to renew your Postal Vote every 3 years, instead of every 5 years currently.
  • Political parties and campaigners will be banned from handing in Postal Votes
  • If you are handing in Postal Votes at a polling station you will only be able to hand in a maximum of 6. 

Some of these new rules will be in place from July 2023. 

  • When you apply for a Proxy Vote you will need to provide proof of your identity.
  • An online system will be set up which allows you to apply for a Proxy Vote.
  • You will need to renew your Postal Vote every 3 years, instead of every 5 years currently.
  • Electors will only be allowed to act as proxy for up to 4 people, of which no more than 2 can be "domestic electors" - i.e. not overseas voters

Some of these new rules will be in place from July 2023. 

The 15 year limit on British citizens living abroad being able to register to vote will be removed. Allowing any British citizen living overseas who has been previously registered or resident in the UK to apply to register to vote. 

The renewal period will also be increased from 1 year to 3 years. 

These changes are due to come into force from Autumn 2023. 

EU citizens 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'

Qualifying EU citizens 

  • citizens who come from countries which have reciprocal agreements with the UK 
  • Currently this is: :Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain 

EU citizens with retained rights

  • EU citizens who were living in the UK before 1 January 2021 (before the UK left the EU)


Will come into force by May 2024.