Register to vote

Published: 24/05/2024

Author: Research in Practice

We need to be on the Electoral Register to vote in the general election on 4 July 2024.

Registering to vote is quick and easy. It is a requirement to show photo ID when voting at a polling station and you must also bring this with you on the day.

Social workers play an important role in supporting people who use services to register and get access to support to be able to vote.

This is because people with social care needs, including disabled people, young people and older people, are at a much greater risk of being disenfranchised. They may not have one of the accepted forms of photo ID or know how to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.

Once registered, anyone can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate if they need one. However, some people who use services may need a social worker to support them to register to vote, attend a polling station or arrange a postal vote.

When is the deadline?

The deadline to register to vote in the 2024 general election is midnight on Tuesday 18 June.

The deadline to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate for these elections is 17:00 on Wednesday 26 June.

Research in Practice, in collaboration with the Principal Social Worker networks, has produced a flyer containing helpful guidance on registering to vote.

Download the flyer

Who can vote?

All British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizens living in the UK who are 18 years old and over as long as they are registered to vote. However, even if someone has registered previously, they may need to register again if they have:

  • never voted,
  • turned 18 recently,
  • moved house,
  • changed name,
  • changed nationality.

How do I register to vote?

You can register to vote online, using a paper form, without an address or choose to vote anonymously.

You can register to vote online. The form takes five minutes to complete. The following are required to register:

  • National Insurance number,
  • date of birth,
  • home address.

If someone can’t provide a National Insurance number or date of birth, they should contact the local Electoral Registration Office.

Download easy read guides.

People who are homeless or don’t have a fixed address can register to vote. They need to fill in a form called a ‘Declaration of local connection’. Download and print these forms.

People can register from:

  • An address where they would be living if it were not for current circumstances.
  • An address where they are staying temporarily, or have lived in the past.
  • Where they spend a substantial part of their time (during the day or night) if they are homeless. Crisis provides these examples: a day service, night shelter, an address they are near to – for example, a bus shelter or the doorway to a high-street store.

A person may be able to register anonymously if they are concerned that having their name and address on the Electoral Register could affect their safety, or the safety of someone in the same household.

If someone registers anonymously, their name and address will not appear on the full or the open Electoral Register. The Electoral Registration Officer will not disclose their details to anyone unless they are legally required to.

  • Download and print the form.
  • The person will need to explain why their safety – or that of someone in the same household - would be at risk if their name and address were on the Electoral Register.
  • They would need to provide evidence to support anonymous registration. The form includes a list of court documents they can submit.
  • An authorised person can sign the application form. The form includes a list of authorised persons. These include Director of Children’s Services; refuge manager; doctor, nurse or midwife.

What photo ID is required?

Voters only need to show one form of photo ID, but it needs to be the original version and not a photocopy.

Any of the following can be used to vote at a polling station.

  • Passport
  • Driving licence (including provisional licence)
  • Blue badge
  • Identity card with PASS mark (Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • Biometric immigration document
  • Defence Identity card
  • National Identity card
  • Concessionary travel cards for older and disabled people including: an older or disabled person’s buss pass; Freedom Pass; Oyster 60+ cards.

View all accepted forms of photo ID.

If an accepted ID is out of date, it can still be used it to vote at a polling station as long as the photo still looks like the voter.

If someone does not have the accepted form of photo ID they can apply for a voter ID document or to vote by post. 

If someone doesn’t have the accepted form of ID, they can apply for a voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate. They will need to be registered to vote first before applying.

The deadline to apply is 17:00 on Wednesday 26 June.

Apply for a Voter Authority Certificate online.

To apply by post, fill out a paper application form and send to the person’s local council. You will need to provide the following when applying for a Voter Authority Certificate:

  • name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • National Insurance number.

If someone doesn’t know or doesn’t have a National Insurance number, they can still apply. The council will contact them to request alternative proof of identity.

Every application will need to include a photograph. The requirements for the photograph are similar to the requirements for a passport photo.

If you need help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate, or want to request an application form, contact your local council. To find their contact details visit the Electoral Commission’s website or call the helpline on 0800 328 0280.

No photo ID is required when voting by post. Anyone applying to vote by post needs to complete a postal vote application form and make sure it arrives with the local council by 17:00 on Wednesday 19 June.

The voting paper will be sent by post. Voters need to complete and return, ensuring enough time for it to arrive at the local council by 22:00 on Thursday 4 July. If it can’t be posted back in time, they will need to take it to a polling station or to the local council office on polling day.