A column from Swindon Borough Council Leader David Renard
Voters across the borough will be required this year to show an approved form of photo ID if they wish to cast their votes in both the borough and parish elections.
This is something people will be required to do by law after new legislation was passed by the Government last year.
Under the new rules, all voters will, from now on, have to bring photographic ID to the polling stations for any local elections, Police and Crime Commissioner elections, UK parliamentary by-elections and recall petitions as well as future general elections from October 2023.
Acceptable forms of ID include photographic driving licences, passports, some concessionary travel passes and biometric immigration documents.
Of course bringing ID to vote in local elections is not completely new to Swindon residents.
You may remember that back in 2018, Swindon was chosen as one of a few pilot areas across the UK to trial the use of voter ID.
The trial was a success with just 0.04 per cent of the 62,166 people who turned up to vote failing to return with alternative ID or seek a replacement poll card after not bringing the appropriate ID initially.
We will be doing everything we can this year to make sure that as many people as possible are able to cast their vote and that those who may not have the appropriate photographic identification can take the necessary steps to allow them to vote.
Residents need to be registered to vote by Monday, 17 April 2023 and, if you haven’t already registered it just takes a few minutes.
You can still use your photo ID if it is out of date, but the photograph needs to be a likely representation of the person who appears on the ID.
If you don’t have an acceptable photo ID you can apply online at GOV.UK for a free voter ID document before 25 April.
You can also apply for a Voter Authority Certificate by post by calling the council on 01793 445 500.
You can apply in person on any working day between 9.30am and 4pm at the Civic Offices in Euclid Street, Swindon, SN1 2JH.
If you want to vote by proxy you will need to make sure the person going to vote on your behalf takes their own ID, and not ID for you. The arrangements for postal voting will remain the same.
Details of how to vote by post or proxy are available on the council’s website.