Postal voters in Tendring are being advised of changes to election processes following the introduction of new legislation.
Changes being brought in by the Government through the Elections Act 2022 are being phased in over time, with the introduction of Voter ID at this year’s elections in May being the first significant change.
Now, from the end of October 2023, extra security measures around postal voting came into effect. Electors will now need to have their identity verified as part of the application to vote by post.
Most voters will be able to do this online, through a new national portal, using their National Insurance number and a picture of their signature. Anyone can apply to vote by post.
Voters without a National Insurance number can use other approved forms of identification to support their application, while paper applications – using an updated form – will still be accepted for anyone not online.
In addition, postal vote arrangements will now only be valid for three years – whereas previously postal vote arrangements were permanent, with a signature refresh every five years. In the future, people wanting to keep their arrangements for the long-term will need to re-apply for a postal vote every three years.
These changes only apply immediately to new applications – electors currently registered for a postal vote can keep those arrangements until January 2026, provided their details do not change, for example by moving home.
Ian Davidson, Electoral Registration Officer for Tendring, said while postal voters did not need to act now, they should be aware of the changes.
“If you currently have a postal vote then you do not need to worry for now, but please bear in mind the new registration requirements are coming,” Mr Davidson said.
“Anyone looking to register for a postal vote now, or who changes their details, will need to go through this new process – so remember to have your National Insurance number handy.”
Further changes coming from the Elections Act 2022 include removing the 15-year limit on eligibility for overseas British voters.
Mr Davidson added: “We will communicate to registered voters about these changes as they are introduced or, otherwise, as and when they need to take action.”