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Key information on Voter ID for Local Elections

5th April 2023 @ 9:09pm – by Webteam
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Key information on Voter ID for Local Elections in Cheshire West and Chester

Cheshire West and Chester Council is reminding voters in May's elections that they will need photo ID if they are voting in a polling station this year.

4 May 2023 is the first date electors in England will need to show an acceptable form of photo identification before they are issued with a ballot paper at a polling station.
This change has been made by the UK Government as part of the Elections Act 2022.

Andrew Lewis, Returning Officer for the Council, said: "Electors can still use a photo ID if it's out of date, as long as it's still a good likeness.

"Only original documents are acceptable – scanned images, pictures on mobile phones or copies will not be accepted.

"A Presiding Officer at a polling station can refuse to give an elector a ballot paper if they are in any way unsure a photo ID is of the person presenting it.

"Electors without any of the accepted forms of photo ID can go online and apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate online via the Gov.UK website, or by post by requesting a printed form from our elections team.

"The application deadline for a Voter Authority Certificate for 4 May elections is 5pm on 25 April 2023."

The name on the photo ID shown at the polling station should be the same name the elector has used to register to vote.
If the names are different, polling staff may ask to see additional documentation such as a marriage certificate, divorce papers, deed poll paperwork, a birth certificate, or a bill.

A Presiding Officer can also refuse to issue a ballot paper if they have reasonable doubt about the authenticity of any photo ID.
They will advise the elector to return with an alternative form of accepted photographic ID.
The Returning Officer will be made aware of any cases of suspected forged ID and can refer these to the police.

Any elector who is turned away from a polling station because they don't have an accepted form of photo ID with them can return later on polling day.
If they are then able to show an accepted form of photo ID, they will be issued with a ballot paper.

Any elector can ask to show their photo ID in a private area of the polling station.
This will include electors who are wearing any kind of face covering.
A mirror will be available for these electors to be able to fix their face covering before returning to the main part of the polling station where they will be issued with a ballot paper.

Where electors request that a female carries out an ID check, a female member of polling station staff will be asked to do this.
Polling station teams will include female members of staff where possible or will be able to contact other election staff such as Polling Station Inspectors.
These team members will be authorised to check photographic ID and on call to attend polling stations at short notice.

Proxy voters, who are authorised by another elector to vote on their behalf, will have to show their own accepted form of photo ID before they are allowed to make a proxy vote.
They do not need to show ID for the person they are a proxy for.

Postal voters do not need to show photo ID as part of their application.
As part of the postal vote application electors are required to provide personal identifiers such as their signature and this will continue.
It's these identifiers that are required on the postal voting statement they send back as part of their completed postal voting pack.

Accessibility changes
The Elections Act 2022 has also made changes to the support and assistance available for disabled voters.

The main change is that disabled voters can now request the assistance of a companion.
A companion can be anyone over the age of 18. They don't need to be eligible to vote in the election.

The official Electoral Commission polling station handbook outlines the minimum accessibility requirements for each polling station that should be available for all voters.

Disabled voters may bring their own equipment or an assistance animal with them to the polling station.

Polling station staff cannot exclude a person who is registered as an elector or entered on the list of proxies from voting on the grounds of disability or mental capacity.

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