The Government is making big changes to the way elections are run and how we vote.  The changes are set out in the Elections Act 2022.  

One of the biggest changes is that you now need to show photo identification (ID), such as a passport or driving licence, when you go to vote at a polling station.

Not all of the changes have been announced yet, so this page is a summary of what we know so far. As and when further information becomes available, we will update this page.  

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

Summary of upcoming changes

Voter identification

Voters in England need to show photo ID when they vote in person at a polling station.

This applies to: 

  • UK Parliamentary elections, including general elections, by-elections and recall petitions
  • local elections and by-elections
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections

View a list of list of acceptable photo ID documents

If you have an accepted form of photo ID but it has expired it can still be used, as long as the photo is still a good likeness of you.

If you do not have any of the photo ID listed, you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate (this is a photo identity document specifically for the purpose of voting).

Read more about the requirement to show photo ID when you vote in person at a polling station

Absent voting

Absent voting enables you to vote in an election if you cannot get to the polling station. There are currently two types of absent voting – postal voting and proxy voting. 

Changes to absent voting

Postal voting

  • instead of being required to refresh your signature for postal voting purposes every 5 years, this will be changing to every 3 years.  This change will take places in stages, starting from January 2024
  • you will not be allowed to hand in more than five postal ballot packs at a polling station on the day of an election (in addition to your own). This change will take effect at the May 2024 elections
  • political parties and campaigners will be prevented handling certain completed postal votes and postal vote envelopes. This change will take effect at the May 2024 elections

Proxy voting

  • at the same election, someone can now only be a proxy for two people based in the UK. If they are acting as proxy for people living overseas, they can act as proxy for up to four people but only two of these can be based in the UK.

Find out more about postal voting and proxy voting.   

Accessibility at polling stations

The proposed changes, which took effect in May 2023, make it easier for disabled voters to vote, with disabled voters given extra support at polling stations and anyone over the age of 18 able to accompany a disabled voter.  

Find out more about the range of support we provide for disabled voters.  


Rights of EU citizens

EU citizens will no longer automatically be entitled to register, vote or stand for election.

Two groups of EU citizens will keep these rights:

  • "qualifying EU citizens", who come from countries which have reciprocal agreements with the UK (currently this is Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Spain) and who have '"leave to remain" in the UK or who do not need "leave to remain" in the UK. 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", who were living in the UK before 1 January 2021 (before the UK left the EU)

These changes, which are expected to take effect after the May 2024 elections, will apply to all local elections and referendums in England, all elections for council and combined authority mayors, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections. 

Overseas electors

On 16 January 2024, changes to voting rights for British citizens living overseas came into force.  The 15 year limit on voting rights for British citizens living overseas was abolished, meaning that British citizens living overseas can now register for life.  

Any British citizen living abroad who has previously lived in, or been registered to vote in the UK, now has the right to vote at UK Parliamentary elections.  These voters will be registered at the constituency where they were last registered to vote, or where they lived if they were not registered to vote before.  British citizens living abroad will no longer have to register as an overseas voter every year.  Instead, they will have to renew their registration every 3 years.

If you are a UK citizen living abroad, you can apply to be an overseas elector. This means you can cast your vote in UK elections and referendums whilst still living in another country.

Find out more about registering as an overseas elector.

"First past the post" voting system

A "supplementary vote system" was previously in place for the following elections:

  • local authority (council) mayors in England
  • combined authority mayors
  • Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales
  • the London mayor

From May 2023, this changed to a simple majority voting system, also known as "first past the post". In "first past the post" voting, you only vote for one candidate and the candidate with the most votes wins. Candidates no longer need to get a certain number of votes; they just have to get more than any other candidate.