Big voting change…

Residents will need photo ID to vote in person starting with the elections in May.

For the first time, electors voting in person at polling stations will need to show photographic ID to vote at this year’s local elections, including electors in Bedford Borough. Residents are being urged to make sure they are ready to vote in May by not only checking they are registered to vote but also checking they have an accepted form of ID.

Accepted forms of ID include a UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Commonwealth passport; a UK, EEA or Commonwealth drivers’ licence; and some concessionary travel passes, such as an older person’s bus pass or an Oyster 60+ card.

Voters will be able to use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo.

Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of ID will be able to apply for free ID online at or by completing a paper form.

Laura Church, Returning Officer at Bedford Borough Council, said:

With elections taking place in Bedford Borough on 4 May 2023, it is important that residents across the Borough can vote – but you must make sure you have an accepted form of ID. It may seem early but checking now means you will be ready to vote in May.

Residents who do not have one of the accepted forms of ID can apply for free ID either online via or by completing a paper application form and sending this to Bedford Borough Council’s electoral services team. If you need any help with applying for the free ID or want to request an application form, contact the electoral services team by phoning 01234 718078 or by emailing

Anyone who wants to have their say in the elections this May must also be registered to vote. It only takes five minutes to register online at Voters wishing to apply to their council for free ID should first make sure they are registered to vote.

The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station, is a new requirement, introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act which was passed last year and comes into effect for the first time this May 2023.