Elections Act 2022
About the Elections Act 2022
The UK Government is making significant changes to the current UK electoral system. The Elections Act contains a few measures that will affect the way we vote and conduct future elections. The act is set to improve the security, accessibility and transparency of elections and campaigning.
Voters now need to show photo ID to vote at polling stations in some elections. Most forms of photo ID can be used as your voter ID.
Proxy voters who are voting on another person’s behalf will also have to show a voter ID.
There is more information on our website. The full list of accepted ID can be found on the Government website.
Changes to postal voting
Voters can apply online for a postal vote, but paper applications will still be accepted.
To apply online for a postal vote, visit the GOV.UK website.
Postal votes will last for a maximum period of three years. Voters will need to re-apply at the end of that time. Voters with an existing postal vote on 31 October 2023 will need to reapply by the end of January 2026.
Changes to postal and proxy voting
Voters can apply online for a postal or some types of proxy vote, but paper applications will still be accepted.
To apply online for a for a proxy vote, visit the GOV.UK website.
Voters will not be able to apply for a proxy online if their application needs attesting or if applying for an emergency proxy vote.
Both online and paper applications will require ID verification. You will be asked for your National Insurance number during the application process, and may be asked to provide further proof of ID
From October 2023 there will be a limit to how many people a voter can act as a proxy for. Currently, a person can act as a proxy for an unlimited number of close relatives and two other people. Under the new rules, voters would be limited to acting as a proxy for two people, regardless of their relationship.
A person may additionally act as a proxy for up to two UK voters registered as overseas or service voters.
Changes for EU Citizens
The Act removes the rights of some EU citizens to vote and stand in elections.
EU citizens where the UK Government has negotiated agreements with EU Members States to allow its citizens living in the UK to vote, in return for the same right for UK citizens living in that country, will still be able to vote and stand in elections.
So far these agreements have been made with:
Other EU citizens who were living in the UK before the end of the EU Withdrawal Agreement Implementation Period (up until 1 January 2021) will also still be able to vote and stand in elections.
The changes will not affect citizens of the Republic of Ireland or citizens of Commonwealth nations.
We will contact affected voters between May 2024 and January 2025 regarding these changes.
The 15-year limit on voting rights for British citizens living overseas will be removed, and the registration period for these voters will be extended from one year to three. This means that overseas voters will only need to register to vote every three years.
Any British citizen living abroad who has previously lived in, or been registered to vote in the UK, will have 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.
Other changes introduced by the act include:
- Adoption of the ‘first past the post’ voting system for Police and Crime Commissioner and mayoral elections.
- Changes to postal vote handling and secrecy
- Improvements to the accessibility of elections
- Changes that simplify and clarify the offence of undue influence. Undue influence is when someone uses, or threatens to use, force or violence to make someone vote a certain way or not vote at all.
- The introduction of digital imprints
- A new penalty for anyone found guilty of intimidating candidates, campaigners or elected representatives.
- Changes to notional spending by candidates.
- Changes to legal requirements for parties and non-party campaigners.
Further information on the changes can be found on the Electoral Commission website.