Elections Act 2022



About the Elections Act 2022

The Elections Act 2022 will make big changes to the way elections are run. 


Voter Identification

Voters are now required to show photographic identification at polling stations before they are given a ballot paper.

This will affect all voters across North Tyneside who vote in person or by proxy, at the next local election on Thursday 4 May 2023.

Voters must bring a suitable form of photographic ID to their polling station. The most commonly used ID include:

  • Passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state or a Commonwealth country
  • Photographic driver’s licence issued by the UK, Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state (including provisional)
  • European Economic Area (EEA) photographic ID Card
  • UK Biometric Residence Permit
  • An identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram  (PASS card)
  • A Blue Badge
  • Oyster 60+ Card

Only original documents are accepted; scanned images or copies will not be accepted however expired documents are accepted if the photo is still a current likeness.

No suitable photo ID?

If you do not have any of the accepted photo ID, and you want to vote at the polling station, you will need to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate. This is a free photographic identification document specific for the purposes of voting. 

More information about the new requirement and details of how to apply for the free ID, can be found at electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID.  If you wish to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate, please click  Apply for photo ID to vote (called a ‘Voter Authority Certificate’) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If you do not have access to a computer, we can send you a paper application, please call 0191 643 2270.

The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate is Tuesday 25 April 2023.

Voters who do not produce a Voter Authority Certificates, or valid identification will not be allowed to vote on the day.

Postal and proxy vote

Postal voters will not be affected and will be issued with their postal ballot papers as usual. If you choose to vote by proxy then the person who you have trusted to vote on your behalf will have to take their own identification to be issued with a ballot paper.



From May 2023, Voters with disabilities will be given extra support at polling stations. Anyone over the age of 18 will be able accompany a disabled voter at a polling station.  

Below are two helpful guides provided by the Electoral Commission and if BSL is your first language, please click Electoral Commission UK - YouTube where there are four helpful videos to explain how to register to vote, which forms of ID to take to a polling station, how to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate and what will happen at the polling station.

Related documents

Absent Voting

Absent voting lets you vote in an election even if you cannot get to the polling station - for example, you might be at work or on holiday on polling day, or you might have a medical condition or disability which means you will find it hard to get to the polling station.

There are two types of absent voting - postal voting and proxy voting.

If you vote by post, your ballot paper will be sent to you and you will fill it in and send it back by post.  

If you vote by proxy, someone you trust will vote for you.

From Autumn 2023, if you are applying for an absent vote, you will need to provide proof of your identity.  An online system will be set up which lets you apply for an absent vote online.

Postal voting

If you vote by post, you will have to apply again every three years. Currently you must refresh your signature every five years.

Political parties and campaigners will be banned from handling postal votes.

If you are handing in postal votes at a polling station, you will only be allowed to hand in a maximum number.

Proxy voting

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

We expect that the online application service for absent votes will be available from July 2023.

We expect that the rules on secrecy and who can handle postal votes will come into force after the May 2023 elections, most likely in Autumn 2023.

The change to the three-yearly application process will be transitional (in other words, it will not affect everyone all at once), starting from January 2024.

We expect that the changes to handing in postal votes and the new proxy limit will come into force for elections in May 2024.

Rights of EU Citizens

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

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

A reciprocal agreement means that the same rules apply in both the UK and that country. For example, a Spanish citizen in the UK could vote or stand for election in the UK, and a UK citizen in Spain could vote or stand for election in 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).

We expect that the changes will come into force by spring 2024.

Overseas Electors

The 15-year limit on voting for British citizens living abroad will end.  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 have 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 three years.

We expect that the changes will come into force by May 2024.

First past the post system

From May 2023, 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.