Voters are being reminded of polling station ID rules ahead of the upcoming borough council and Police and Crime Commissioner elections.
In Swindon, both elections will take place on Thursday 2 May. A total of 19 borough council seats are up for election, while the Wiltshire and Swindon Police and Crime Commissioner poll is being held for the whole Wiltshire police area.
Following the Elections Act 2022, photographic identification is a mandatory requirement for electors voting in polling stations, and saw electors use ID at last year’s borough and parish elections in Swindon.
This requirement will also apply to future General Elections, with one expected to be called this year.
Accepted forms of photo ID include passports, photographic driving licences, biometric immigration documents and certain concessionary travel passes. A comprehensive list is available on Swindon Borough Council’s website.
To cast their vote in the upcoming elections, electors must be registered by Tuesday 16 April. If not already registered, individuals can complete the process on the Government’s website. Voters only need to register once, unless they have changed their name, address or nationality.
Voters can use expired photo ID as long as it still reasonably represents the individual. The name on the ID should match the one used during voter registration, and only original documents will be accepted.
For those without accepted photo ID, a free Voter Authority Certificate can be obtained online. Applications must be submitted by Wednesday 24 April to be processed in time for the 2 May elections. The Voter Authority Certificate is valid for 10 years and is applicable to all elections.
Alternatively, residents can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate by contacting the council for an application form on 01793 445 500 or by visiting the Civic Offices in Euclid Street, Swindon, SN1 2JH.
Proxy voters must bring their own ID, and postal voting remains unchanged. To apply for postal or proxy vote, residents now have the option to apply online. Residents will now be required to provide their National Insurance number or another identity document when registering for either postal or proxy voting.
For those unable to use the online platform, downloadable forms are still available on the Government's website. Postal vote applications need to be submitted online, to the internal mailbox at the Civic Offices (SN1 2JH) or [email protected] by 5pm on 17 April, while proxy vote applications should be submitted by 5pm on 24 April.
Postal votes should be returned via post. There is now a limit on the number of postal vote packs which can be hand delivered (e.g. to a polling station) – an elector can only submit their own and up to five others, and they will be required to fill in an additional form.
Proxy voters are restricted to acting on behalf of two people, regardless of their relationship. Those voting on behalf of UK voters living overseas can act as a proxy for up to four people, with a maximum of two being UK residents.
Sam Mowbray, Swindon Borough Council’s Returning Officer, said: “We’ve got less than three months before Swindon residents head to the polls and we want to make sure every eligible elector is registered to vote by Tuesday 16 April and has their photo ID ready well ahead of polling day.
“Please check the council’s website for a comprehensive list of what ID is acceptable and, if you do not have the required ID, please apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate before 24 April, which will be valid for 10 years and can be used for all future elections.”
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