How to register to vote if you’re experiencing homelessness

The general election has been called and we have a date – Thursday 4th July.  

People who are experiencing homelessness or have no fixed address can vote. Voting is a vital opportunity for all of us to make our voice heard.

Below is a brief guide on how to register to vote with key links. There is also guidance on the requirement for voters to have valid photo ID which was introduced last year, and how people who may not have mainstream ID can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. If you, or anyone you know is experiencing homelessness, please read and share this information to make sure that everyone who wishes to vote has the opportunity.  


When is the deadline to register to vote in the 4 July 2024 general election? 

You need to register by 11:59pm on Tuesday 18 June 2024 to vote in the general election on Thursday 4 July. 

If you want to vote by post, you must apply by 5pm Wednesday 19 June. And if you want a proxy vote, you must apply by 5pm Wednesday 26 June.  

Further information on the election in your area, including lists of candidates and information on your polling station can be found here


Who can register to vote? 

To register to vote in the UK general election, you must be aged 16 or over.

You must also be one of the following: 

  • a British citizen 
  • an Irish citizen living in the UK. 
  • a Commonwealth citizen who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission. 


You can register to vote in the general election if you will be aged 18 or over on the day of the election.

There are different rules for who can register and vote in Scottish Parliament, Welsh Senedd and local elections in Scotland and Wales. You can check which elections you’re eligible to vote in here. 

You normally only need to register once – not for every election. You’ll need to register again if you’ve changed your name, address or nationality.


How do I register to vote? 

The easiest way to register to vote is online, providing you know your National Insurance Number and date of birth.  

If you can’t provide one or either of those things, you will need to contact your local Electoral Registration Office (they will also post a paper form to you if you require it). You could also download a Register to Vote form and return it by post. 


How can I register to vote if I’m homeless/have no fixed address? 

You can vote if you’re experiencing homelessness, remanded in custody, or a patient in a mental health hospital.  

In order to vote, you need to give an address of a place where you have lived in the past, the place where you’re staying temporarily, or where you would be living if it were not for your current situation. 

If you are experiencing homelessness with no fixed address, you can register to vote by giving details of where you spend a substantial amount of your time. This could be a night shelter, or hostel, a day service you go to regularly. 


How do I vote? 

Once registered, you can head down to your local polling station in person, which will usually be in a public building, like a school or a local hall.  

If you live away from home or are abroad, you can vote by post.  

If you are unable to vote in person, you can also ask someone to vote on your behalf, which is known as a proxy vote

The eligibility criteria to vote in different elections can be found here


Do I need photo ID to vote? 

You’ll need to show photo ID when voting in person in some UK elections or referendums – this includes the 4 July general election.  

This legislation came into effect from May 2023. 

You’ll need it to vote in: 

  • UK parliamentary elections, including general elections and by-elections.
  • recall of MP petitions in England, Scotland and Wales
  • local elections in England (including councils, mayors, the Greater London Authority and parishes)
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales
  • neighbourhood planning referendums in England
  • local authority referendums in England (including Council Tax increase referendums) 


What photo ID is accepted? 

You’ll need one of the following types of photo ID to vote: 

  • a UK or Northern Ireland photocard driving licence (full or provisional)
  • a driving licence issued by an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Isle of Man or any of the Channel Islands
  • a UK passport
  • a passport issued by an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or a Commonwealth country.
  • a PASS card (National Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • a Blue Badge
  • a biometric residence permit (BRP)
  • a Defence Identity Card (MOD form 90)
  • a national identity card issued by the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
  • a Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card
  • a Voter Authority Certificate
  • an Anonymous Elector’s Document


You can also use one of the following travel passes as photo ID when you vote: 


What if I don’t have accepted photo ID? 

If you do not have a type of photo ID that allows you to vote, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate

You only need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate if: 

  • you do not have accepted photo ID. 
  • you no longer look like the photo on your ID. 
  • the name on your photo ID is different to your name on the electoral register. 


 You’ll need to apply by 5pm on Wednesday 26 June 2024 to get a Voter Authority Certificate for the 4 July 2024 elections.


How do I apply for a Voter Authority Certificate? 

You can apply online or apply by post

You will need to have registered to vote or applied to be registered to vote before applying for a Voter Authority Certificate.  

When applying for a Voter Authority Certificate, you will need to provide your: 

  • name 
  • address 
  • date of birth 
  • National Insurance number


You should apply using the same name that you used to register to vote. 

If you don’t know your National Insurance number or don’t have one, you can find your National Insurance number on: 

  • payslips 
  • official letters about tax, pensions or benefits 


You can still apply if you don’t know your National Insurance number or don’t have one, but you will need to provide other forms of proof of identity, such as a birth certificate, bank statement or a utility bill.  

If you don’t have any other accepted proof of identity, you can ask someone you know to confirm your identity. This is known as an attestation. 

You can also get help applying from your local Electoral Registration Office

There’s also an easy read guide about applying for a Voter Authority Certificate

You can also call the Electoral Commission on their helpline on 0800 328 0280 if you have any questions. 

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