Four things disabled people need to know about new voter ID rules

If you live in England, there are new rules that mean you’ll need photo ID to vote in the local elections on 4 May. Steven explains what it means for you if you’re disabled.

1. You might already have a valid form of ID

If you already have a form of ID, check it’s on the list of accepted ID. The Electoral Commission has a full list of accepted ID on their website. The list includes your passport, driving license, blue badge, and disabled person’s bus pass.

It doesn’t matter if the ID is out of date, but it still has to look like you.

If you already have one that’s on the list, don’t worry, you’re sorted. Just remember to bring your ID with you on the day. Remember, it needs to be the original form of ID, not a photocopy.

Sadly, there aren’t any local elections in my region this May, but for next year’s elections, I’ll be setting a reminder in my phone to make sure I take my photo ID with me!

2. It’s free to get a form of ID if you don’t already have one

If you’ve looked through the list and can’t find a form of ID you already have, don’t worry. You can apply for something called a Voter Authority Certificate.

It’s a free form of photo ID that’s accepted at polling stations. You can apply online or via post. I was pleased to see that the online application form seems to be accessible with my screen reader.

You might want to ask someone to help you fill in the form and you’ll need a recent digital photo of yourself. You can find easy read and large print versions of the application form on the Electoral Commission website.

The deadline for applying is 5pm on 25 April 2023 to get your new ID in time for the elections on 4 May.

3. You also need to be registered to vote

Photo ID isn’t the only thing you need to do to have your say at the polling station. You also need to have registered to vote before election day.

Unfortunately, the deadline in England was on 17 April 2023 for the May elections, so it’s too late to do so if you haven’t already. That said, if you register now, you’ll be registered ready for the next set of elections in your area.

4. It’s vital to use your voice

Disabled people tend to be less likely to vote compared to the rest of the population. Of course, it’s your choice whether you vote or not.

But the more of us that vote, the more we’re likely to have our voices heard by decision makers.

And to do so, we need to do two things: make sure we’re registered to vote and make sure we’ve got a valid form of photo ID.

I know these changes may seem worrying, but hopefully the above tips and tricks should be reassuring that you’ll still be able to have your say.

Spread the word

The more disabled people that get the message about voter ID, the less people are likely to be turned away from the polling station on 4 May.

Will you share this post with one friend on WhatsApp to let them know what they need to do ahead of voting?