Elections Act 2022 - What you need to know

The UK government is implementing significant changes to the current electoral system. The Elections Act 2022 outlines several measures which will affect the way that you vote and how we conduct elections.

One of the biggest changes is the requirement for individuals to show photographic identification (such as a passport or drivers’ licence) when they vote at a polling station.

The sections below provide a summary of what we know so far. Further information is due to be published throughout 2023 and this page will be updated when we know more. The first changes came into force for the Whole Council Local Elections in Wirral on 4 May 2023. You can find out more about the Elections Act 2022 by visiting the UK Government website

Voter ID for elections from May 2023

All electors, who vote at a polling station, are required to show an accepted form of photographic identification since May 2023. There are no exceptions. This will include anonymous electors. 

If you act as a proxy for an elector, you will need to show your own ID. You will not need to provide ID for the person you are acting as a proxy for.

You will need ID to receive your ballot paper to cast your vote in a polling station.

Voter ID will be introduced for postal voters, and people appointing a proxy in the summer of 2023 and will be in place for all elections taking place, after this date. 

Accepted forms of identification are set out in Schedule 1 of the Elections Act. This list includes ‘an electoral identity document issued under section 13BD (electoral identity document: Great Britain)’. 

If you do not have any of the accepted forms of ID, listed below, you can apply online for a free Voter Authority Certificate – this is a photographic identity document specifically for the purpose of voting.

There are three varieties of this ‘electoral identity document':

  • the Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) – previously referred to as the voter card
  • the temporary Voter Authority Certificate, which can only be issued in exceptional circumstances
  • the Anonymous Electors Document (AED), for use by anonymous electors only * Registered anonymous electors will be required to apply for an AED as this will be the ONLY accepted form of voter ID for anonymous electors at polling stations. Anonymous electors will be invited to apply for the AED in January 2023 

The Voter Authority Certificate is an A4 paper-based document, with appropriate security features, displaying only the elector’s name, photograph, date of issue, issuing local authority, an ‘identifier’ (i.e., an alphanumerical reference), and a recommended renewal date.

The deadline for applications for Voter Authority Certificates will be 5pm, 6 working days ahead of a poll. For this year's elections it was 5pm on Tuesday 25 April 2023.

For applicants, the Voter Authority Certificate application service is available as:

  • a GOV.UK Voter Authority Certificate Service – an online application service, provided by central government on the GOV.UK website, where you can submit your application for a Voter Authority Certificate online
  • an alternative paper application form designed by the Electoral Commission, allowing you to make your application for a Voter Authority Certificate on paper and either post or hand in the application to their ERO 

If you do not have any of the accepted forms of ID you will be able to apply online for a free Voter Authority Certificate – this is a photographic identity document specifically for the purpose of voting.

Apply for photo ID to vote (called a ‘Voter Authority Certificate’)

If you own an accepted form of photographic ID you do not need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (Voter ID). If your photographic ID document has expired it can still be used, if the photograph is still a good likeness of you.

If you are not able to apply online or would prefer to receive a paper application form, please contact Electoral Services on 0151 691 8046 or email electoral@wirral.gov.uk.

Acceptable forms of photographic ID


  • a UK passport
  • a passport issued by an EEA state or Commonwealth country

* Please note that expired documents will be accepted providing that the photograph is still a good likeness of you*

Apply for a UK passport

Driving licence (including provisional licences)

  • a licence to drive a motor vehicle granted under 15(i) Part 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, or (ii) the Road Traffic (Northern Ireland) Order 1981 (SI 1981/154 (N.I. 1))
  • a driving licence issued by any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or an EEA state

Expired documents will be accepted as long as the photograph is still a good likeness of you.

Apply for a driving licence

Immigration document

A biometric immigration document issued in accordance with regulations under section 5 of the UK Borders Act 2007.

Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) hologram

These include:

  • CitizenCard
  • My ID Card
  • Milton Keynes all in 1 MK Card
  • NUS Totum ID Card
  • Validate UK Card
  • Young Scot Card
  • One ID 4 U Card

Apply for a PASS Card

Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)

Commonly known as a MOD90.

Concessionary travel passes

This list has been updated since the introduction of the Elections Bill. It exhaustively sets out all concessionary travel cards that will be accepted, to avoid any confusion amongst electors.

These include:

  • older persons' bus pass (UK Government issued passes ONLY - does not include Merseytravel over 60s pass
  • disabled persons' bus pass
  • Oyster 60+ card
  • Freedom Pass
  • National Entitlement Card (Scottish Government)
  • 60 and over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card (Welsh Government)
  • Disabled Person's Welsh Concessionary Travel Card (Welsh Government)
  • a Senior SmartPass (Northern Ireland)
  • a Registered Blind SmartPass or Blind Person’s SmartPass (Northern Ireland)
  • a War Disablement SmartPass or War Disabled SmartPass (Northern Ireland)
  • a 60+ SmartPass (Northern Ireland)
  • a Half Fare SmartPass (Northern Ireland)

Chronically sick or disabled

A badge of a form prescribed under section 21 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 or section 14 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons (Northern Ireland) Act 1978 (blue badge scheme).

Apply for a blue badge

Electoral documents

  • an electoral identity document issued under section 13BD (electoral identity document: Great Britain)
  • an anonymous elector’s document issued under section
  • 513BE (anonymous elector’s document: Great Britain) the holder of which has an anonymous entry at the time of the application for a ballot paper
  • an electoral identity card issued under section 13C (electoral identity card: Northern Ireland)
  • a national identity card issued by an EEA state

Applying for a Voter Authority Certificate

If you do not have any photographic ID from the list above, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate:

  • you can apply online on GOV.UK
  • you will need to provide your name, address, date of birth and national insurance number
  • you will also need to provide a passport style photograph

Changes to absent voting

Absent Voters – Future changes for Postal and Proxy Voters

We expect that the changes below will come into force after the Whole Council Elections in summer 2023.

If you are applying to vote by post or by proxy, you will be asked to provide proof of your identity. A new application service will be set up which allows you to apply for a postal or proxy vote, and verify your identity, online.

The existing secrecy requirements will be extended to postal and proxy votes. You can find out more about the secrecy requirements on the Electoral Commission website. 

Postal Voting

Currently when you vote by post you are required to refresh your signature every 5 years, this will be changing to every 3 years.

If you hand in your postal vote at a polling station on the day of the election, you will only be allowed to hand in a maximum of 6 postal votes. Political parties and campaigners will be prevented from handing in postal votes.

Proxy Voting

You will only be able to act as a proxy for a maximum of 4 people. Of these 4, the maximum number who can be ‘domestic electors’ (voters living in the UK) is 2.

Accessibility at polling stations

The new law will make it easier for voters with disabilities to vote. Changes will be in place for the May 2023 elections. Voters with disabilities will be given extra support at polling stations and proposals will allow anyone over the age of 18 to act as a companion for a voter with a disability. Read further information about voting if you have a disability.

Rights of EU Citizens for voting and candidacy

EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote, or stand for election. Two groups of EU citizens will retain their voting and candidacy rights these are:

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

This change will apply to all local elections and referendums in England, all elections for council and combined authority mayors, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. These changes are expected to take place by spring 2024.

Overseas Electors

The 15-year limit on voting for British citizens living overseas is to end. In future, any British citizen, who was previously registered to vote in the UK or who previously lived in the UK, will be able to register to vote regardless of how long they have lived abroad.

The renewal period for overseas electors will change from one to three years.

We expect that these changes will take place by May 2024. 

First past the post

From May 2023 the voting system, at the elections listed below, will be changing from a supplementary vote system to a simple majority voting system, also known as ‘first past the post’. In ‘first past the post’ voting you only vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most votes will win. Candidates will no longer have to secure a certain number of votes; they will just have to win more votes than any other candidate.

The voting system will be changed in all elections for: 

  • local authority (council) mayors in England
  • combined authority mayors
  • Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales
  • the London mayor

Privacy Notice for applying for a Voter Authority Certificate