If you are not known to the returning officer in the polling station, you must provide proof of identity. This is because it must be possible to confirm that you are who you say you are. If it is not possible to confirm this, you will not be allowed to vote. Other people in the polling station cannot vouch for your identity either.
What forms of ID are accepted?
Examples of acceptable ID include a passport, driving licence and bank card with a photo. Other forms of proof of identity can also be used, although as a minimum requirement they must include your name, date of birth and photo.
More and more bank cards are being issued without a photo these days. In order for the form of ID to be accepted as valid, it must have a printed photo on it. However, a returning officer must exercise discretion when assessing a voter’s ID. As long as the ID shows that the voter is the person he or she claims to be, it should be regarded as good enough. This applies even if the ID itself has expired.
Exemptions in institutions
Only one exemption applies when it comes to showing ID and this applies to voters who are in health or care institutions or prison. In such places there is no absolute requirement that the voter must prove their identity because there may be cases where the voter does not have ID documents available. In such cases a member of institution’s staff can vouch for the voter’s identity. In these circumstances, it is a requirement that the member of staff can prove their identity.