Elections Act 2022

Elections Act 2022 - What you need to know

The UK Government has implemented significant changes to the current electoral system. The Elections Act 2022 outlines several measures which will affect the way that you vote and how we conduct elections.

One of the biggest changes will be the requirement for individuals to show photographic identification (such as a passport or driving licence) when they vote at a polling station.  

The sections below provide a summary of what we know so far. Further information is due to be published throughout 2023 and this page will be updated when we know more. The first changes will come into force for the borough elections on Thursday 4 May 2023.

You can find out more about the Elections Act 2022 by visiting the UK Government website


Upcoming changes

From May 2023 you will be required to show an official form of photographic identification (ID) when you vote in person at a polling station, a list of acceptable ID documents is included below.

If you own an accepted form of photographic ID but it has expired it can still be used, as long as the photograph is still a good likeness of you.

If you do not have any of the accepted forms of ID you will be able to apply online for a free Voter Authority Certificate – this is a photographic identity document specifically for the purpose of voting. Please use the following link:


If you need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, make sure you do so in good time ahead of it being required at the polling station.

You can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate at any point, even before an election has been called but the deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate for elections held on Thursday 4 May 2023 is Tuesday 25 April 2023.


Acceptable forms of ID will include:

  • A passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
  • A driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or an EEA state
  • A biometric immigration document
  • An identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card)
  • Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card)
  • A Blue Badge
  • A national identity card issued by an EEA state
  • An Older Person’s Bus Pass
  • A Disabled Person’s Bus Pass
  • An Oyster 60+ Card
  • A Freedom Pass


Accessibility at Polling Stations

The new law will make it easier for voters with disabilities to vote. The changes will be in place for the May 2023 elections. Voters with disabilities will be given extra support at polling stations and proposals will allow anyone over the age of 18 to act as a companion for a voter with a disability.

Advice on how you can vote, including the new requirement to show photo identification.

To vote in the local elections, you need to be registered. You can register online at www.gov.uk/registertovote or by coming into the Plaza to use one of the public computers.

For the first time in May 2023, voters will be required to show photo ID when voting at a polling station. This new requirement will apply for the local elections taking place in Havant on Thursday 4 May 2023.

If you wear a face covering, you will be asked to remove it to check your photo ID is a true likeness. Don’t worry, we have privacy screens available in all polling stations and a female member of staff will assist you. Alternatively, if you would prefer not to go to a polling station to vote, you can apply for a postal or proxy vote.

You do not need photo ID to apply to vote by post or proxy.  However, the person you trust and appoint to vote on your behalf as a proxy will need to show photo ID.

We have put together a list of links to help you as a voter understand the process.

Tailored resources to support people who are likely to need support to prepare for the new Voter ID requirement:


Changes after 4 May 2023

Absent Voting

  • Absent voting allows you to vote in an election if you cannot get to the polling station. There are currently two types of absent voting – postal voting and proxy voting. You can find out more about postal voting and proxy voting by visiting our website pages. 

Changes to absent voting

  • If you are applying to vote by post or by proxy, you will be asked to provide proof of your identity. A new application service will be set up which allows you to apply for a postal or proxy vote, and verify your identity, online.
  • The existing secrecy requirements will be extended to postal and proxy votes. You can find out more about the secrecy requirements on the Electoral Commission website
  • We expect that the changes below will come into force after the Borough elections and County by-election in May 2023

Postal Voting

  • Currently when you vote by post you are required to refresh your signature every 5 years, this will be changing soon to every 3 years.
  • If you hand in your postal vote at a polling station on the day of the election, you will only be allowed to hand in a maximum of 6 postal votes. Political parties and campaigners will be prevented from handing in postal votes.

Proxy Voting

  • You will only be able to act as a proxy for a maximum of 4 people. Of these 4, the maximum number who can be ‘domestic electors’ (voters living in the UK) is 2.


Rights of EU citizens for voting and candidacy

EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote or stand for election. Two groups of EU citizens will keep these rights;

  • Qualifying EU citizens who come from countries which have reciprocal agreements with the UK (currently this is Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain)
  • EU citizens with retained rights, who were living in the UK before 1 January 2021 (before the UK left the EU)

This change will apply to all local elections and referendums in England, all elections for council and combined authority mayors, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. These changes are expected to take place by spring 2024.

Overseas electors

The 15-year limit on voting for British citizens living overseas is ending soon. Going forward any British citizen, who was previously registered to vote in the UK or who previously lived in the UK, will be able to register to vote regardless of how long they have lived abroad.

The renewal period for overseas electors will be changing from 1 to 3 years.

We expect that these changes will take place by May 2024. 

First past the post voting system

From May 2023 the voting system will be changing from a ‘supplementary vote system’ to a simple majority voting system, also known as ‘first past the post’.

In ‘first past the post’ voting you only vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most votes wins. Candidates no longer need to get a certain number of votes; they just need to get more than any other candidate.

The voting system will be changed in all elections for:

  • local authority (council) mayors in England
  • combined authority mayors
  • Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales
  • the London Mayor