Those intending to vote at the local elections on May 4 will need to show photo identification to receive a ballot paper.
Photo ID will also be required for any UK-wide elections under changes introduced by the government..
It says that the new measure is being introduced because “there is inexcusable potential for someone to cast another’s vote at the polling station”. And it quotes research it says shows that 98% of electors already own suitable ID.
Critics however say, among other things, that mandatory voter ID is “a dangerous attack on our democratic rights that could lead to millions of legitimate voters being locked out of the polling station on election day”.
They also cite possible additional costs of “up to £20m per election”.
The new system will apply in Southampton at the ‘all-out’ city council elections on May 4, when – unusually – all seats will be up for grabs, rather then the usual third, due to boundary changes.
ID that is acceptable at polling stations includes a UK passport, driving licence – including a provisional licence – a blue badge photocard, an older person’s, or disabled person’s bus pass, an Oyster 60+ card, and an identity card with a proof of age hologram.
Photo ID can still be used if it’s out of date, as long as the photo looks like you and the name is the same one you used to register to vote.
There’s a full list of acceptable forms of ID on the Electoral Commission’s website.
If you don’t have one of these, you can also apply for a free voter ID document – known as a Voter Authority Certificate – by April 25 to be in time to vote in the local elections. Details of how are here.
You can also apply for a postal vote, by April 18 to be in time for the local elections.