Cleadon Methodist Church polling station, Cleadon.Cleadon Methodist Church polling station, Cleadon.
Cleadon Methodist Church polling station, Cleadon.

Voter ID is coming - there's what you need to do to be able to cast your ballot in South Tyneside

One of the core principles of democracy is that whatever a person’s wealth, class, background, profession – when he or she casts a vote, that vote is equal in weight to that of any other.

The requirement to show photographic identification at the polling station is new. As part of the UK Government’s Elections Act, which was passed last year, anyone voting at a polling station in England this May will need to show photo ID before they can be given their ballot paper. Current research suggests that around 4% of people may not have any form of photo ID, or their photo ID may not be acceptable, meaning that this May approximately 3200 polling station voters in South Tyneside are at risk of losing their ability to vote.

With voter turnout relatively low at local elections, the last thing anybody wants is further erosion of democratic engagement and participation. It’s important that everyone understands what types of ID they can use, and how to apply for free ID if they need it.

Whilst many enjoy the ‘ceremony’ of going out to vote, the need for Voter ID provides additional challenge for some in our community. Residents are being urged to make sure they are ready to vote in May by checking they have an accepted form of ID or apply for a postal vote. In the UK we can be reassured that our postal ballot system provides a fair, and fraud free alternative to the traditional ballot box.

Elections teams up and down the country have proven time and time again that they are resilient and adaptable, and I know that our team will rise to the challenge to support the people of South Tyneside through this change, but I urge everyone to check now that they have the right ID in place so that their access to democracy is not limited by this change in Government policy.

Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of ID can apply for a free voter authority certificate online at or by completing a paper form.

The full list of accepted ID is available on the Electoral Commission’s website, along with more information about the new requirement and details of how to apply for the free ID, at

The requirement to show photo ID does not apply to residents who vote by post.

Anyone who wishes to apply for a postal vote can go to or call 0191 427 7000 for an application form.