|Voters urged to check they’re election-ready before it’s too late|
|30-03-2023 10:25 AM BST|
|With time ticking down until local elections on Thursday, 4 May, northern Devon residents wanting to vote are being urged to make sure they’re election ready. The deadline to register to vote is midnight on 17 April. Voters can quickly and easily register online at gov.uk/register-to-vote.|
Voters have a range of options for casting their vote on the day, including voting in person, by post or by appointing someone they trust to vote in their place, known as a proxy vote. The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on 18 April, while the deadline to apply for a proxy vote is a week later, 5pm on 25 April.
This May, for the first time, voters will need to show photo ID if they intend to vote at a polling station. This is a new requirement, introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act. Types of accepted photo ID include passports and drivers’ licences issued in the UK or European Economic Area, as well as some concessionary travel passes such as an older persons’ bus pass. Voters can also use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo. If you do not have one of the accepted types of ID, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate ID online or by completing and submitting a paper form to your local authority. You must apply by 5pm on 25 April, to be able to use the certificate on 4 May. Returning Officer at North Devon Council, Ken Miles, says: “Don’t lose your chance to have your say at elections in May.
Local elections are an important opportunity to have your say on who represents you and makes decisions about issues that directly affect day-to-day life in northern Devon. Registering to vote is a simple process that takes no more than five minutes. If you’re in doubt about whether you need to register to vote, or have questions about how to apply for a postal or proxy vote, or free ID, you can contact your local elections team.
Returning Officer at Torridge District Council, Steve Hearse, says: “While the elections may seem some way off to many, it’s time to check and act now to secure your vote and make sure it gets counted. The new photo ID requirement for anybody casting their vote at a polling station is a big change at this election. We recommend that everyone should start their preparations now in checking that they have the appropriate ID to take with them on the day, or apply for the free voter authority certificate if needed. We are also suggesting that people consider checking in with family members or neighbours, particularly the elderly, to help them understand and comply with the new requirements, so that nobody gets left behind.”
You can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate online on the Government website at www.gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate Voters in the North Devon Council area who do not have ID, wish to vote in person and apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, but are unable to do so, are able to attend Lynton House between 9am and 1pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for this to be facilitated. Alternatively voters in Torridge can apply Monday to Friday 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 4.30pm at Riverbank House, Chanters Road in Bideford.
Information about the new requirement and all voting options can be found on the Electoral Commission’s website. Alternatively people can contact their respective electoral services team at www.northdevon.gov.uk/elections or www.torridge.gov.uk/elections