Changes to voting affecting blind and partially sighted people

Posted: Monday 03 April 2023
Man voting

The local elections next month will be the first time people across the country will be asked to provide photo ID in order to vote.

However, the rules brought in by the UK Government have been widely criticised by many charities supporting people with sight loss, with fears it will prevent people from exercising their democratic right to vote.

There are existing concerns that many blind and partially sighted people are already deterred from taking part in elections, because they cannot vote independently.

The new rules have received criticism for their potential to exacerbate this problem, as many people with sight loss do not hold the appropriate ID such as a UK driving licence.

As a result, we are keen to highlight how you can still vote in your upcoming local elections, by getting hold of a free Voter Authority Certificate.

How do I vote without the correct ID?

Standard, acceptable forms of ID include a driving licence, passport, a blue badge parking permit and some concessionary travel cards (such as a bus pass, Oyster 60+ card, SmartPasses).

Your photograph must look like you and even if the ID card is out of date  it be accepted by the polling station.

However, if you do not have an acceptable form of ID, or you are not sure if your ID photograph looks like you, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate for free.

How do I apply for a Voter Authority Certificate?

Firstly, you must be registered to vote in order to apply for the certificate. Please note the deadline to register to vote ahead of the upcoming elections is Monday, 17 April.

The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate for the local elections, which will take place in England on 4 May 2023, is 5pm on Tuesday, 25 April.

You can apply online for your Voter Authority Certificate for which you will need to submit your name, address, date of birth and National Insurance number.

You may also apply for the certificate by post via a paper application or in person or by phone.

Your local council should be able to help you take your photo if you are unable to do this yourself, while your local authority will also ask for further proof of your identity, such as a utility bill or bank statement, if you do not know your National Insurance number.

For more information on how to vote, visit the Government website.

If you need assistance finding details of your local authority or need any help with the new changes ahead of the elections this year, please contact our Advice and Information service on 0300 3030 111 (9am-5pm weekdays) or email