The single most important thing you can do when you next get a spare moment is make sure that you, your family and friends are all familiar with the new regulations which will require you to take photo ID with you when you vote in the City Council elections on 4th May.
The details are all here. There’s a very specific list of the ID that is acceptable (there are a few others for Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland):
- a passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, a state of the European Economic Area (EEA), or a Commonwealth Country
- a driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or and EEA state
- a biometric immigration document
- an identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
- a 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 voter authority certificate issued by an Electoral Registration Officer
- an anonymous elector’s document issued by an Electoral Registration Officer
I applied for the Voter Authority Certificate a couple of weeks ago because my passport was sent off for renewal and I wasn’t confident it was going to be reissued in time. The application process took about 10 minutes, wasn’t complicated, was free – and I received my certificate within a week. The application can be made online here.
Alternatively, you can apply for a postal vote; this eliminates the need to show ID at the polling station, for obvious reasons. However, an application for a postal vote must be received by 18 April. The application form you need to fill in is here.
Thanks to the work the Queen Edith’s Community Forum does in publicising candidates through the Queen Edith’s Magazine and the hustings event, Queen Edith’s ward regularly achieves one of the highest levels of voter turnout in the city, around 45%. This year’s hustings will be on 25th April at St John the Evangelist church; all five candidates for the vacant City Council seat will be there. You can search for information about your candidates at https://whocanivotefor.co.uk/
However, all of that effort to encourage democratic participation will be wasted if substantial numbers of those who want to vote are turned away from the polling station because they don’t have the right form of photo ID. Staff at polling stations will have no choice but to enforce the regulations – so in order to make the process as stress-free as possible for everyone involved, please acquaint yourself with the regulations now and make sure that you are prepared in good time.