The UK Government has introduced a requirement to show photo ID when voting at a polling station at some elections. This applied for the first time in Salford at local councillor elections on Thursday 4 May 2023. It continues to apply to future elections including the next general election if it falls after October 2023.
Previously voters just had to confirm their name and address on arrival at the polling station. Now you will have to show an acceptable form of photo ID. You may already have a form of photo ID that is acceptable. You can check the list of acceptable voter ID documents below.
If you have one, you don’t need to do anything else other than remember to take it with you to the polling station on election day. You can still use it to vote even if it’s out of date, as long as the photo still looks like you. You will only need to show one form of photo ID, but it needs to be the original version and not a photocopy.
If you don’t have an acceptable form of ID (or you’re not sure whether your photo ID still looks like you) to show to polling stations staff on election day apply online for a free Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) on the government website.
Alternatively, you can complete a paper application form for the Voter Authority Certificate by downloading it from the downloadable documents below. Please submit the completed paper application form to email@example.com, including the front facing photograph.
If you need help going online or applying for your Voter Authority Certificate, please pop into your local gateway centre, a one stop shop for a wide range of council and community services. Located across Salford, they have free internet and are open late every weekday - Monday to Thursday 8am to 10pm, Friday 8am to 6.30pm and Saturday 9am to 1pm. There are centres in Swinton, Eccles, Pendleton, Walkden and Broughton. Staff can help you complete the form and take free photos for your application.
As an alternative to voting in person on polling day, you can apply for a postal vote.
More details about voter ID can be found below including a downloadable leaflet ‘Everything you need to know about voter ID to vote in the May elections.’ You can also visit the Electoral Commission’s webpages on voter ID or call their helpline on 0800 328 0280.
You need to be registered to vote before you apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. If you have already registered at your address you don’t need to re-register but if you haven’t, register to vote on GOV.UK. When you register to vote, you’ll be asked whether you have photo ID or if you want to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.
Please note that not all nationalities are eligible to vote in the UK. If you are a refugee, you are eligible to vote if you are one of the nationalities eligible to vote in the UK.
We’re keen to ensure all electors in Salford are aware of the change and able to still vote. Various resources are available from leaflets and posters to translations and information in different accessible formats.
Acceptable Voter ID documents
Driving and parking
Proof of age
Other government issued documents
What do I need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate?
If you don’t possess one of the acceptable forms of ID to show to polling stations staff on election day, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate.
You will need to provide your:
You will not need to provide your gender, and your certificate will not have a gender marker.
You will need to submit a photo with your application. The requirements for the photo are similar to those needed for a passport photo - more details below.
Photo requirements when applying for a Voter Authority Certificate
When applying for a Voter Authority Certificate, you must submit a photo with it which has similar requirements to those needed for a passport photo.
Your photo must be:
If you are unable to meet the requirements due to a disability, then please contact Salford City Council’s elections team on email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The photo must:
If you apply online, the photo must be:
If you apply using a paper form, the photo must be:
If you need help taking a photograph or going online, please pop into your local gateway centre – more details at the top of this page.
How is my application for a Voter Authority Certificate processed?
After you’ve applied via the government website, Salford City Council will process the application and send the Voter Authority Certificate to you by post.
They will also send you instructions on how to use your certificate.
Voter Authority Certificates do not have an expiration date. But it's recommended that you renew your certificate after ten years.
All data you provide when applying for a certificate will be stored securely by your local council, in line with data protection regulations.
If you need any help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate or want to request an application form, email the elections team at Salford City Council on email@example.com or call The Electoral Commission’s helpline on 0800 328 0280.
What do I do if I’m an anonymous elector?
If you're registered to vote anonymously and want to vote in person, you'll need to apply for an Anonymous Elector's Document
If you are unable to view documents of these types, our downloads page provides links to viewing software.
This page was last updated on 25 July 2023