For the first time, residents in West Oxfordshire District, which includes Woodstock, Burford, Chipping Norton, Charlbury, Carterton and Witney, will need to show a photographic ID to vote in person at this year’s local elections, which are being held on 04 May.
Residents are being urged to make sure they are ready to vote in May by checking they have an accepted form of ID.
Accepted forms of ID include a UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport; a UK, EEA or Commonwealth driver’s licence; and some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person’s bus pass.
Voters will be able to use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo, and the name on the ID should be the same name as appears on the Electoral Register.
Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of ID can apply for free ID online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate or by completing a paper form which is available from the council.
More information is available on the West Oxfordshire District Council website, including details on how to apply for the free ID. Anyone not able to visit the Council website, or apply for a Voter Authority Certificate online, is being encouraged to contact the council as soon as possible and no later than the 5.00pm deadline on Wednesday, 25 April.
Giles Hughes, Returning Officer for West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Anyone voting at a polling station in England this May will need to show photo Identification to staff before they can be given their ballot paper(s). It’s important that everyone understands what types of ID they can use and how to apply for free ID if they need it.
“With elections taking place in various areas in West Oxfordshire on 04 May 2023, it is important that those who want to vote to make sure they are registered to vote and have an accepted form of ID. It may seem early but checking now means you will be ready to vote in May.
“Residents who do not have one of the accepted forms of ID can apply for free ID either online or by completing a paper application form, which is available at the Woodgreen office or by calling 01993 861410. If you need any help with applying for the free ID, or want to request an application form, contact the electoral services team on 01993 861410.”
Anyone who wants to have their say in the elections this May must also be registered to vote. If you aren’t already registered, it only takes five minutes to register online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Voters wishing to apply to their council for free ID should first make sure they are registered to vote.
The requirement to show a photo ID at the polling station is a new requirement introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act which was passed last year, and it comes into effect for the first time this May.
The changes do not affect postal votes but do affect proxy voters, who will be required to show their own valid ID when voting on behalf of someone else.