Photo ID information pack released for partially sighters voters

The accessible pack explains the new requirement for voters to present photo identification, which will come into effect in England in May

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The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has worked with the Electoral Commission to develop an accessible information pack that outlines the Government’s new photo identification (ID) requirement for voters.

Local elections are taking place in 230 areas of England on 4 May, and photo ID will be required in order to vote in polling stations from this point.

Those returning a postal vote will not be required to present photo ID.

The information pack is available in plain text, braille and audio.

It includes information on accepted forms of photo ID and what will happen at the polling station, as well as a frequently asked questions section.

The guide notes that those who have a form of accepted photo ID that is out of date can still use it to vote, provided they still look like their picture.

Those without a valid form of photo ID can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate

Mike Wordingham, policy manager at the RNIB, said that the charity is concerned that the new voter ID requirements will “disproportionately disenfranchise blind and partially sighted people, who are less likely to carry the most common forms of photo ID.”

Wordingham said: “From our research, we estimate that as many as 40,000 blind and partially sighted people don’t have any acceptable form of ID and are at risk of being turned away from the polling station as a result of the new requirements.”

He added: “In our view, not enough has been done to ensure blind and partially sighted people know about the new requirements. During the voter ID trials in 2019, we know of at least one person with sight loss who was turned away from the polling station for not having photo ID. We’re extremely concerned that this could become commonplace in the upcoming local elections.”

The full list of English boroughs that will be holding elections in May can be found on the Electoral Commission website

The deadline to register to vote in the May local elections is 11:59pm on Monday 17 April.

The photo ID requirement will also be required in all general elections in England from October 2023.