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Voting safely in the General Election

We know that abusers might have prevented you from voting in elections in the past. They might be making it hard for you to vote safely in elections now. But your voice matters. We have put together this guide outlining how you can take part in the General Election in a way that is safe for you.   

This guide includes information about registering to vote anonymously, alternative forms of voter ID and the different ways you can vote safely. 

There are lots of other ways you can have your voice heard this General Election. Find out more about our General Election campaign and how you can be involved.

Important deadlines to be aware of

The General Election will take place on Thursday 4 July. Below are the key deadlines to know ahead of the General Election:  

  • Registering to vote: Tuesday 18 June at 11.59pm 
  • Applying for a Voter ID document: Wednesday 26 June at 5pm 
  • Applying for a postal vote: Wednesday 19 June at 5pm 
  • Applying for a proxy vote: Wednesday 26 June at 5pm 

If you are registering to vote anonymously, this process can take longer than registering to vote online. You should apply as soon as possible. We have more information on registering to vote anonymously below.  


Registering to vote anonymously
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If you have experienced economic abuse, you may be concerned that the abuser can find you by searching for your new address on the electoral register.  

While the electoral register isn’t as accessible as the open register, there is a risk that someone could abuse the electoral system to access your personal information.  

Registering to vote anonymously is designed to protect people whose safety would be at risk if their name and address are listed on the electoral register. If you have registered to vote anonymously, your name and address won’t appear on the electoral register.  

The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday 18 June. Registering to vote anonymously will take longer than registering online. You should apply as soon as possible. 

It is important to note that not appearing on the electoral register may have a negative impact on your credit score. This is because the electoral register is used by credit agencies. 

Open register 

The open register contains all the information that is on the electoral register, such as your name and address. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation.  

You can choose to not appear on the open register. Removing your details from the open register will not affect your right to vote.  

To opt out, either: 

When you opt out of the open register, your details will still appear on the full version of the electoral register. 

Eligibility for registering to vote anonymously 

To register to vote anonymously, you must provide documentary evidence to support your application. This evidence can be either a court order or an attestation from a qualifying officer.  

An attestation is a written statement giving evidence to verify that something is true. 

You only need to submit either a court document or an attestation. You do not need to submit both to support your application. 

Court orders 

A current court document can be used as evidence for anonymous voting. Some of the orders accepted are: 

  • an injunction 
  • a restraining order 
  • a non-harassment order 
  • a domestic violence protection order 

You can find a full list of accepted court orders on page six of the anonymous registration form 

The court orders accepted as evidence are set out in law and therefore other types of court orders cannot be accepted. The order must be in force on the day of your application to register anonymously. 

Attestations

An attestation is a statement from a qualifying officer. It confirms that if the applicant’s name and address appeared on the electoral register, their safety, or the safety of others in their household, would be at risk.  

Qualifying officers who can provide attestations include: 

  • refuge managers 
  • registered medical practitioners e.g. GPs 
  • registered nurses or midwives  
  • police officers of or above the rank of inspector in any police force in the UK 

You can find a full list of qualifying officers on page seven of the anonymous registration form 

The law doesn’t require that a qualifying officer has a direct relationship with the applicant. However, qualifying officers must be able to truthfully say that the applicant’s safety would be at risk if their name and address appear on the register.  

Making an application to register to vote anonymously 

To register to vote anonymously, you will need to download and complete the application form. The application forms for England, Wales and Scotland are available here 

On the application form, you will need to explain why your safety, or the safety of someone in your household, would be at risk if your name and address appeared on the electoral register.  

You must then submit the completed and signed application form and the supporting evidence to your local registration office. You can find their address here 

Once your application has been approved, you will be registered as an anonymous voter for 12 months. You will need to reapply each year.   

If you are registered to vote anonymously and you wish to vote in person, you will need to apply for an Anonymous Elector’s Document ahead of polling day. We have more information about Anonymous Elector’s Documents in the voter ID section below.  

 

Refuge also has a guide, available here, on registering to vote anonymously. It sets out the risks and benefits of anonymous voting alongside information about the open register.  

Voter identification (ID)
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We know that abusers can restrict access to or damage passports and other identification. You may be concerned that not having access to your ID will impact your ability to vote in the General Election, but there are options available to you.  

To vote in person in the UK, you must show photo ID. Accepted forms of photo ID extend beyond a passport or driving license. You can find a full list of accepted documents here 

Voter Authority Certificates 

Voter Authority Certificates are a free voter ID document. They are an alternative to traditional forms of photo ID such as a passport or driving license. 

Voter Authority Certificates are free to apply for and can be applied for online, or by post. You need to be registered to vote before applying for a Voter Authority Certificate.  

When applying, you will need to provide your name, address, date of birth and National Insurance Number. You will also need to submit a photograph with your application.  

If you do not know your National Insurance Number, you can still apply. You will need to provide other forms of proof of identity, such as a birth certificate, bank statement, and utility bill. 

You can also ask someone who knows you to provide written evidence to the council to verify your identity if you don’t have any other accepted proof of identity. 

Your local council will process your application and send the Voter Authority Certificate to you by post, or you can arrange to collect it in person from your local council’s office.  

The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate is 5pm on Wednesday 26 June. You can find out more information about Voter Authority Certificates here 

Anonymous Elector’s Document 

If you are registered to vote anonymously and you wish to vote in person, you will need to apply for an Anonymous Elector’s Document and bring this with you to the polling station.  

When applying, you will need to provide your name, address, date of birth and National Insurance Number. You will also need to submit a photograph with your application.  

If you do not know your National Insurance Number, you can still apply. You will need to provide other forms of proof of identity, such as a birth certificate, bank statement, and utility bill. 

You can also ask someone who knows you to provide written evidence to the council to verify your identity if you don’t have any other accepted proof of identity. 

An Anonymous Elector’s Document includes: 

  • the date of issue 
  • your photograph  
  • your electoral number (which is the number that will appear on the electoral register instead of your name and address) 
  • an appropriate identifier 

Your local council may need to check details with you regarding your application, so you should apply as soon as possible. 

Ways to vote in the General Election
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There are three ways to vote in the General Election on Thursday 4 July – in person, by post or by proxy. We have information on each way of voting below, so you can consider which feels safest to you.  

Voting in person 

When you vote in person, you go to the polling station allocated to you based on your address on the electoral register. Your polling station will be listed on your polling card, which will be sent to you ahead of the General Election.  

You will need to bring an accepted form of photo ID, or your Voter Authority Certificate, with you.  

What to expect at the polling station if you are registered to vote anonymously

If you are registered to vote anonymously, you will need to bring both your polling card and your Anonymous Elector’s Document.  

At the polling station, you will be asked for your polling card so they can find your electoral number on the electoral register. They will then check your Anonymous Elector’s Document.  

If you would prefer to have your Anonymous Elector’s Document checked in private, the polling station can provide a private space for this. This may be a separate room, or an area separated by a privacy screen, depending on the polling station. 

Voting by post 

You can choose to vote by post if it feels like the safest option for you. You do not have to give a reason to be able to vote by post. 

You will receive your ballot paper in your postal voting pack. Within the pack there will be: 

  • instructions on how to cast your vote 
  • a postal voting statement 
  • the ballot paper 
  • an envelope for your ballot paper 
  • a return envelope to post your vote  

You can apply to vote by post here. You do not need photo ID to vote via post.  

The deadline for applying to vote by post is Wednesday 19 June at 5pm. 

Voting by proxy

If you would like, you can choose a trusted person to vote on your behalf. The person voting on your behalf can either go to your polling station to cast your vote or can apply to vote on your behalf by post. 

Someone can be your proxy if they are: 

  • 18 or over  
  • registered to vote 
  • able to get to your polling station on polling day 
  • eligible to vote in the election 

Your proxy does not have to be related to you. 

If your proxy goes to the polling station to cast your vote, they will need to show their photo ID, but they will not need to show yours.  

In an emergency where you cannot go to the polling station in person, you can apply for an emergency proxy. You can find out more about proxy votes on the Electoral Commission website. 

The deadline for applying to vote by proxy is Wednesday 26 June at 5pm. 


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