Medway’s local and parish elections are taking place on Thursday, 4 May.
The government has introduced new legislation which means for the first time, residents will need to bring accepted photo ID to the polling station to be able to vote.
This change will apply to anyone voting at a polling station, which also includes residents who will be using a proxy vote. For proxy votes, the person voting on your behalf will need to show their accepted ID.
A wide range of photo IDs will be accepted, including passports, driving licences and certain concessionary travel cards. The full list of acceptable photo IDs can be found on the Electoral Commission’s website.
Even if the photo ID document is out of date it can still be used, as long as the photograph is still a good likeness of the voter.
Anyone who doesn’t have one of the accepted forms of photo ID, or isn’t sure that their photo still looks like them, is encouraged to apply for a free ID document called a Voter Authority Certificate.
The deadline to apply for the free ID is 5pm on Tuesday, 25 April. Applicants must be registered to vote, and will need to provide their date of birth, National Insurance number, and a photograph with their application.
To apply residents can visit the government website or download a paper application form, which should be returned to: Medway Council, Electoral Services, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham, ME4 4TR. If residents need help filling out the paper application form they can call 01634 332099.
Neil Davies, Returning Officer at Medway Council, said: “With elections coming up on Thursday, 4 May, it is really important that Medway’s residents make sure they are election ready. If you are planning to vote at a polling station, take the time now to make sure your ID meets the government’s accepted criteria. Your vote matters, so if your ID doesn’t meet the criteria, act now and apply for the Voter Authority Certificate today to make sure your voice is heard in the election.”
Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration at the Electoral Commission, said: “The availability of free ID is important to maintaining the accessibility of elections. We are calling on all voters to check whether they have an accepted form of ID and, if not, to apply for the certificate.
“We know from research that the vast majority of people already have the ID they need. Those voters only need to remember to bring it with them on polling day. However, anyone who doesn’t currently have an accepted form of ID can now apply for free voter ID.”
Alternatively, residents can choose to apply for a postal vote, which won’t require any photo ID. The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on Tuesday, 18 April.