The leaders of the city's political groups have joined together to remind residents they must have the correct identification to vote in the local elections on Thursday 4 May 2023.
The government has introduced a new law which means anyone wanting to vote in future elections, both local and national, must show photographic ID before being given a ballot paper at a polling station.
If a potential voter turns up at the polling station to vote but doesn't have the correct ID, by law polling clerks will have to refuse the person the chance to vote.
The voter can though return before the close of the polling station at 10pm with the correct ID if they have it.
What you must do
If you don’t have an allowed form of photo ID, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate (VAC).
The system of Voter ID will be compulsory and apply for the first time in Brighton & Hove at the local elections on Thursday 4 May.
Council leader Phélim Mac Cafferty, who leads the council's Green group of councillors, plus co-leaders of the Labour group Carmen Appich and John Allcock, and Conservative leader Steve Bell are hoping their joint voter ID call is understood by everyone who wants to vote.
'Don't lose your right to vote'
Councillor Mac Cafferty said: “New government legislation means residents will need photo ID to vote at the next council elections on Thursday 4 May.
“It's vital that people realise that, despite the protests from our council and many others, they must bring photographic identification with them to vote.
“The last thing we want is anyone to lose their vote. If they don't have the right identification, they must use the information the council is publishing to do so.”
Councillor Mac Cafferty has already written to Cabinet Office Minister, the Rt Hon Jeremy Quin MP, to express his concerns about the new voter ID system asking him to halt voter ID saying it could 'lead to long term disenchantment with the voting system, particularly within marginalised communities'.
'Voter ID could disenfranchise residents'
Councillors Appich and Allcock said: "Voting is a right that residents should not be denied. So it's extremely important people remember to have or get proper identification before attending polling booths.
"Voter ID is something we must all get used to whether we like it or not. However the Government dresses it up, this is a discriminatory policy that could disenfranchise thousands of Brighton & Hove voters and threatens to reverse decades of democratic progress.
“Our message to residents is – don’t let this retrograde policy rob you of your democratic right. Bring ID to your polling station, and we will continue lobbying Government in and out of Parliament to drop this reactionary and damaging legislation.”
'Voter ID will strengthen public confidence in the electoral system'
Councillor Bell said: "I would urge everyone who is eligible to vote to ensure they have the correct ID or begin the process of getting ID.
"There are still six weeks left, but don't leave it until the last minute as time will quickly run out.
"I believe voter ID is needed and is necessary to strengthen public confidence in the electoral system."
The government's ruling means these are the forms of ID you can use to vote:
- UK passport
- A passport issued by an EEA (European Economic Area) state or a Commonwealth country
- EEA identity card
- Driving licence (including provisional licence)
- A biometric immigration document
- Older person’s bus pass
- Disabled person’s bus pass
- A blue badge
- A PASS identity card
If you have one of the above which is out of date, you can use this at the polling station if it still looks like you.
How to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate
If you don’t already have a form of photo ID, or you are not sure whether your photo still looks like you, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate (VAC).
You can also contact us at email@example.com to be sent a paper copy.
The deadline to apply for a VAC for use at the local elections is 5pm on Tuesday 25 April. But you should apply sooner in case we need to check any details with you.
My name on the register does not match my ID
When you attend the polling station a member of staff will:
1. Ask your name and address to find you on the electoral register
2. Ask for your photo ID and check it is acceptable
3. If your photo ID is accepted, you will be given a ballot paper and be directed to a polling booth
A private area will be available if you want your photo ID viewed in private.
Staff at the polling station are there to help. If you need assistance, just ask.
Other ways to vote
If you vote by post, you don’t need to provide ID.
To apply to vote by post, complete and return an application by 5pm on Tuesday 18 April.
You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you a paper copy.