Elections Act 2022

The Elections Act 2022 came into effect in April 2022 and has made big changes to the way elections are run. One of the biggest changes is that you'll need to show ID (like a passport or driving licence) when you go to vote at a polling station.

You can find out more about the Elections Act 2022 on the Electoral Commission website.

Voter identification

You have to show an official form of photo identification (ID) when you arrive at a polling station to vote. The ID does not need to be in date, if the picture on the ID is still a likeness to you then it will be accepted.

The following photographic ID will be accepted:


Photocard driving license

Proof of age Standards Scheme (PASS) card includes Milton Keynes All in 1 MK Card

Biometric immigration document

Defence identity card

Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card

EEA National ID card

Blue Badge

Government issued concessionary older or disabled person’s travel pass or Northern Ireland concessionary travel pass

Scottish National Entitlement Card

If you do not have an official form of photo ID from the above list, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) here.

Absent voting

When applying for an absent vote, you now need to provide your National Insurance number (NINO) or proof of your identity if you do not have a NINO. You will also need to upload your signature.

Postal voting

Electors can now apply for a postal vote online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-postal-vote

All existing postal voters need to reapply by 31 January 2026. Postal voters need to reapply every 3 years.

Political parties and campaigners are banned from handling postal votes.

Any completed postal vote not returned via Royal Mail must be accompanied by a return form. Any completed postal votes, which are hand delivered without the form being completed must be rejected. 

If you're handing in postal votes, you will only be allowed to hand in a maximum of 5 plus your own.

Proxy voting

Electors can now apply for a proxy vote online at https://www.gov.uk/apply-proxy-vote

You can only act as a proxy for up to 4 people. Of these, the maximum number who can be 'domestic electors' (voters living in the UK) is 2.

Existing proxy voters had to reapply by 31 Jan 2024 or their absent vote was removed. Proxy voters need to reapply every 3 years.

Accessibility at polling stations

Voters with disabilities now have extra support at polling stations.

Anyone over the age of 18 can accompany a disabled voter at a polling station.

Rights of EU citizens

From Tuesday 7 May 2024, EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote, or stand for election.

These changes will apply to:

  • all local elections and referendums in England
  • elections for council and combined authority mayors
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections

Two groups of EU citizens will keep these rights: 'qualifying EU citizens' and 'EU citizens with retained rights'.

Qualifying EU citizens

These are EU citizens who:

  • come from countries which have reciprocal agreements with the UK

  • who have 'leave to remain' in the UK, or who do not need 'leave to remain' in the UK

Currently this means citizens from Denmark, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, and Spain.

EU citizens with retained rights

These are EU citizens who were living in the UK before 1 January 2021 (in other words, before the UK left the EU).

Overseas electors

The 15-year limit on voting for British citizens living abroad has ended. Any British citizen 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've lived abroad.

British citizens living abroad will be able to register to vote using the address where they were previously registered. If they were never registered to vote, they can register using the last UK address they lived at.

British citizens living abroad will no longer have to register as an overseas voter every year. Instead, they will have to register every 3 years.

First past the post

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

The system will change from the 'supplementary vote system' to the 'simple majority voting system', also known as 'first past the post'.

What is the first past the post system?

In 'first past the post' voting, you only vote for one candidate, and the candidate with the most votes wins. They do not have to get a certain number of votes, they just have to get more than any other candidate.