Feb 26 2023

Voter Identification

I was always on the side of the Open Rights Group and the No2ID campaign over the prospects of voter identification documents. But now that voters in the UK are a few weeks away from the first elections where voters will be required to show Photo ID in order to vote at a polling station crunch time is upon us.

Part of me would rather not apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. Given that the current UK government is shameless enough not to worry too much if 2021 Cabinet Office estimates of anywhere between 925,000 and 4,200,000 potential voters lacking suitable and sufficiently current photo ID 1 turn out to be accurate, I’m not counting on this government having the time or the inclination to take steps to amend the law after the May 2023 local authority elections (given how many more pressing issues they’re likely to have to deal with at that point in time.)

Some of those people never intended to vote,” they’ll say, or We’re proud to protect UK citizens’ right not to vote if that’s what they wanted.”

Potential voters who don’t have one of the approved types of Photo ID can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. For what it’s worth, I strongly suggest that you apply for one if (like me) you’re lacking an approved photo ID right now.

Bottom line is, I did apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. Happily, my local Electoral Registration Office supplied it to me within a week. I got in early. Part of me hopes that by now they’re much busier as word spreads about this new requirement around voting, but recent news coverage suggests that word may not have got round, hence this very small-scale Public Information Post.

Whichever party you’re planning to vote for, make sure you don’t give up the right to vote by failing to meet the updated legal requirements for voting.

  1. The wide variation in numbers depends upon which of a whole bunch of assumptions about the applicability of different numbers from a 2021 survey comes to pass. None of those numbers is a good number of potentially-disenfranchised voters, it seems to me.↩︎