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Photo ID and Anonymous Voters

 In Campaigns, News

It is a little over five years ago that we were involved with the right-to-vote campaign which made it easier for survivors to register anonymously on the Electoral Register.

The changes added to the list of documents that can be used and people who can support an application to include midwives, GPs and refuge managers.  They came into force on 7 March 2018, the 100 anniversary of the first British women securing the right to vote, helping survivors vote in a way that was safe to them.

The new requirement to provide photo ID when voting at the polling station is thought to impact certain groups more than others.  One of these groups is those who are registered to vote anonymously.  We look at the issue here and what can be done to ensure those on the anonymous register are able to vote in person.


When Photo ID is not Photo ID

Many of us will have seen the adverts on the television – where giant sticky notes appear on buildings reminding people to take their photo ID to vote at a polling station.  This is great… for most people.  But do you know that for people who are on the anonymous register standard photo ID will not be accepted?

Yes, that’s right.  As anonymous voters are, well, anonymous, this means that their name and address is not on the register at the polling station.  A number is used instead.  And so standard photo ID documents such as a driver’s licence or passport are not valid.


What those on the anonymous register need to do

Those on the anonymous register who vote by post do not need to provide photo ID.  But to vote at a polling station they will now need to apply for a free Anonymous Electors Document.  This will provide the photo ID in a way that matches the person their voting number while keeping their personal information safe.

We know that those already on the anonymous register and those applying for it should be told about this requirement.  But with the busy-ness of life and a lack of information in prominent places, this is something that could easily be missed.


How you can help

We are raising awareness around the new voting requirement for those on the anonymous register and are asking you to help get this information out to the people you know.  Below are links to downloadable information from the Electoral Commission website.

Although we are raising awareness with those on the anonymous register, we are also taking this moment to also share information to others who may have concerns about photo ID.  These include people who are trans or non-binary (who can apply for a free, non-gendered form of photo ID if they want), those experiencing homelessness and those from traveller communities.  The download below includes links to all these, including further links to information translated into other languages.  You can see the full range below.

More information can be found on the Electoral Commission where you can also find out more about registering to vote anonymously and how to vote anonymously.



General Information for Organisations: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/partner-charity-or-local-council/voter-id-resources

General Partner Pack

Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Communities Partner Pack

Older People Partner Pack

People Experiencing Homelessness Partner Pack

People who are Registered to Vote Anonymously Partner Pack

Trans and Non-Binary Partner Pack

Resources for blind and partially sighted people

Information in Easy Read

Information in BSL


Important Dates:

17 April – last date to register to vote in the next elections

18 April – to vote by post your postal application form needs to arrive with your local council by 5pm on Tuesday 18 April

25 April – last date to apply for free photo ID is by 5pm on Tuesday 25 April. But doing it early helps in case your local council needs to check any details with you.

4 May – date for voting in the local elections.

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