Elections Act 2022 and Verification Number for Petition

Elections Act 2022

The Elections Act 2022 received the Royal Assent on 28 April 2022. The Act contains measures that affect elections and the way we vote in order to improve the security, accessibility and transparency of elections.

Newham does not have scheduled polls on Thursday 4 May 2023, but any polls held after that date will have to comply with the new Act.

Voter ID

The UK Government has introduced a requirement for voters to show photo ID when voting at a polling station at some elections. From 4 May 2023, voters in England will need to show photo ID to vote at polling stations in some elections.

This will apply to:

  • Local elections
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections
  • UK parliamentary by-elections
  • Recall petitions

From October 2023 it will also apply to UK General elections.

There are no elections scheduled for London Borough of Newham in 2023.

Which forms of ID can I use to vote?

You may already have a form of photo ID that is acceptable.  You can use any of the following:

  • Passport
  • Driving licence (including provisional license)
  • Blue badge
  • Certain concessionary travel cards
  • Identity card with PASS mark (Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • Biometric Immigration document
  • Defence identity card
  • Certain national identity cards

For more information on which forms of photo ID will be accepted, visit electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID or call their helpline on 0800 328 0280.

If you don’t have an accepted form photo ID

If you don’t already have an accepted form of photo ID, or you’re not sure whether your photo ID still looks like you, you can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate. You can apply for this at voter-authority-certificate.service.gov.uk.

Alternatively, you can complete a paper application form. If you need any help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate or want to request an application form, email us at elections@newham.gov.uk or call us on 020 8430 2000.

Find out more

If you have any questions or would like to find out more, go to electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID, or call their helpline on 0800 328 0280.

Absent voting - postal and proxy voting

Changes to take effect in June 2023

  • Postal voters will need to make a fresh application every three years, instead of the five-yearly signature refresh, to take effect from June 2023
  • Electors will only be allowed to act as proxy for up to four people, of which no more than 2 can be "domestic electors" - i.e. voters residing in the UK.

Changes to take effect in July 2023

  • You will be able to apply online for a postal or proxy vote. The application will include a requirement for your identity to be verified. The identity verification requirements will be similar to those for registration applications. 

Changes to take effect potentially from Autumn 2023, exact dates are yet to be confirmed. 

  • There will be a limit to the number of postal votes a person can hand in at a polling station
  • Political parties and campaigners will be banned from handling postal votes

Overseas electors

The following changes to overseas electors’ rights will come into effect from Autumn 2023:

  • The 15-year limit on voting for British citizens living overseas will be removed and all British citizens overseas who were previously a resident in the UK will be enfranchised.
  • The renewal period for overseas electors will change from 1 to 3 years.

Accessibility at polling stations

The new law will make it easier for voters with disabilities to vote. 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.

Changes will be in place from Thursday 4 May 2023.

EU citizens' voting and candidacy rights

EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote, and stand for election. The following two groups of EU citizens will retain their voting and candidacy rights:

  • Qualifying EU Citizens who come from countries which have reciprocal agreements with the UK, currently: Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
  • EU citizens with retained rights, who were living in the UK before 1 January 2021 (UK’s exit from the EU).

This change will apply to all local elections and referendums, all elections for council and combined authority mayors, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

These changes are expected to take place by spring 2024.