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The Elections Act 2022 introduced a number of changes, the most significant being the requirement to bring photographic ID to vote.

Voter identification

From May 2023, voters will be required to show photographic identification at polling stations before they are given a ballot paper. 

If you do not have any of the accepted photo IDs, and you want to vote at the polling station, you will need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.

Find out more about identification requirements for voting.

Other changes to elections

Other measures being introduced by the Elections Act include changes to absent voting, EU citizen's voting and candidacy rights, and overseas electors rights.

Absent voting - postal and proxy voting

Changes to absent voting include:

  • Political parties and campaigners will be banned from handling postal votes
  • There will be a limit to the number of postal votes a person can hand in at a polling station
  • Postal voters will need to make a fresh application every 3 years, instead of the 5-yearly signature refresh
  • 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
  • You will have the option to apply for a postal vote via a new central government online system
  • You will need to provide photographic ID when applying for an absent vote, whether this is an online application or paper application

EU citizens' voting and candidacy rights

Changes to EU citizens' voting and candidacy rights include:

  • EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote, and stand for election
  • Two groups of EU citizens will retain their rights:
    • 'Qualifying EU citizens' from countries with reciprocal agreements, and who have leave, or do not require it, to remain in the UK - currently Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, and Spain
    • 'EU citizens with retained rights' who were residents in the UK before 1 January 2021 - i.e. before the UK left the EU

The changes to EU citizens' voting and candidacy rights will apply to all local elections and referendums in England and to the Mayor of London and London Assembly elections. The changes are expected to be in place for the May 2024 Mayor of London and London Assembly elections on Thursday 2 May 2024.

Overseas electors

Changes to overseas electors rights include:

  • The 15-year limit on British citizens living abroad will be removed
  • Any British citizens who were previously registered to vote in the UK or who previously lived in the UK will be able to register as an overseas elector
  • British citizens living abroad will be required to re-register every three years

The changes are expected to be in place by May 2024.

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Updated: 21 February 2023

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