With the introduction of photo ID, it’s important to know your rights. The Elections Act sets rules around how photo ID inspections can happen, and what voting officials can and can’t do.

Your right to privacy

  • When providing your photo ID at a polling station, only the clerk can inspect your document or Voter Authority Certificate. Only with your express permission can they show it to other people. The only exception is where the validity of your photo ID is challenged, in which case a clerk must show it to the person in charge (called the presiding officer).
  • If you ask to show your photo ID privately, so no one else but you and the officer / clerk can see it, then they must agree to your request. This means taking you to a private area of the polling station.

Your right to a free photo ID

  • As well as creating the free Voter Authority Certificate, the Elections Act also specifies that it must be provided to potential voters free of charge.

Your right to try again

  • If your first attempt to vote at a polling station is refused because your photo ID hasn’t been accepted, you have the right to try again with a different photo ID. This means you can’t be turned away automatically just because your first attempt was unsuccessful.

Reasons for refusal must be recorded

  • If the officer at the polling station refuses to give you a ballot paper, they must record your electoral number and the reason for the refusal. 
  • Officers aren’t required to tell you why they’ve refused the photo ID, and the act says the decision can’t be challenged in “any further proceedings”.

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