Just one week is left for people to apply for the new, free Voter Authority Certificate.
National legislation means that from Thursday 4th May, anyone who wanting to vote in person at a polling station is legally required to bring with them valid Photo ID.
Those who do not have one of the documents specified, which include passports, driving licences and other Blue Badges and national concessionary travel passes, need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, which they can use when they cast their vote.
However, in Sefton, just 400 people have applied for a Voter Authority Certificate so far, which is just 0.2% of the Borough’s potential voters. Nationally just over 60,300 people had applied for a Certificate up to a few days ago.
Applications for a free Voter Authority Certificate must be received by 5pm on Tuesday 25th April, which is just a week away.
Dwayne Johnson, Sefton Council’s Chief Executive and Returning Officer for the 2023 elections said: “There are alternatives for those who don’t have or don’t want to use Photo ID but still want to vote.”
“More than 43,000 people will be casting their vote by post this year, while nearly 200 voters have nominated a friend or family member to vote on their behalf – known as a proxy voter.
“But the changes made by the Government to the UK electoral system through The Elections Act means that anyone who wants to vote at a polling station on Thursday 4th May is going to have to show Photo ID whether that is with an existing document or one of the new, free Voter Authority Certificates.
“Applying is easy and all you need is a recent digital unfiltered photo of yourself and your National Insurance number. Just go to www.sefton.gov.uk/voterid and follow the link from there to apply.”
It is thought that as many as many as one million eligible UK voters do not currently have accepted forms of photo ID.
Mr Johnson added: “Polling station staff will have no choice but to ask voters to return with valid ID if they initially show up without.
“This could pose a considerable inconvenience to those wanting to have their democratic say and we are doing our best to make sure this kind of situation is avoidable.”
“The deadline to apply for a VAC is 5pm on Tuesday April 25th which is just one week away so I would urge people to check at www.sefton.gov.uk/voterid to see if they have one of the required ID documents.
And if they don’t, my advice is to get their Voter Authority Certificate application in as soon as possible.”
To find out more about the forthcoming local elections people should visit www.sefton.gov.uk/elections.
The deadline for registering to vote was 11:59pm on Monday 17th April and the cut off for registering for a postal vote is 5pm today (Tuesday 18th April). The deadline to apply for a proxy vote for the May 2023 elections is 5pm on Tuesday 25th April.