Published on 7th June 2024

Graphic with pink background and purple ballot box with text:
Your vote matters, don't lose it

Residents in Cheltenham are being urged to prepare ahead of the UK parliamentary general election taking place on Thursday 4 July.

The general election is to elect members of parliament – or MPs - to the House of Commons.

Useful last dates and deadlines to remember include:

  • 18 June - register to vote
  • 5pm 19 June - apply for a postal vote
  • 5pm 26 June - apply for free voter ID
  • 5pm 26 June - apply for a proxy vote

Anyone who wants to have their say in the general election must be registered to vote by Tuesday 18 June. It only takes five minutes to register online at

For the first time, voters in Cheltenham will need to show photo ID to vote in a UK parliamentary general election. Residents are being advised to make sure they are ready to vote by checking they have an accepted form of ID.

Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of ID can apply for free ID online at or by completing a paper form. The deadline for applying for free voter ID ahead of the general election is 5pm Wednesday 26 June. Voters wishing to apply should first make sure they are registered to vote.

Paul Jones, returning officer at Cheltenham Borough Council, said: “We’d like to urge our residents to make sure that they’re prepared ahead of the general election on Thursday 4 July as there have been some changes to the rules over the last year.

“Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of ID can apply for free ID either online or by completing a paper application form and sending it to Cheltenham 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 our electoral services team on 01242 264132 or email [email protected].”

Voters also have the choice to vote by post or proxy. The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm Wednesday 19 June. The deadline for a proxy vote is 5pm Wednesday 26 June. For information on elections in their area, how to register to vote or how to apply by post or by proxy, voters can visit

New postal vote handling rules are in place for 4 July UK Parliamentary General Election which means: 

  • There will be a limit on the number of postal vote packs that you can hand in at a polling station or at the council offices.
    You will be allowed to take your own, and up to five others.
    When hand delivering postal votes, you will be required to sign a postal vote return form.
  • Political parties and campaigners will be banned from handling postal vote packs on behalf of electors.
  • When you apply for a postal vote you will need to provide proof of your identity. Now, postal vote applicants must provide their National Insurance Number as well as their date of birth and signature.

Proxy voting
There are now limits to how many people a voter can act as a proxy for. This means you can only act as a proxy for two people living in the UK. If you act as a proxy for people living overseas, you can act as proxy for up to four people but only two of these can be based in the UK. Find out more about proxy voting.

For more information about elections, visit

For media enquiries, contact: communications, telephone 01242 264231, email [email protected]

Electoral Commission press office, telephone 020 7271 0704, out of office hours 07789 920 414 or email [email protected]


The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station, has been introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act.

The legislation requires voters at polling stations to show an accepted form of photo ID before they receive their ballot paper. The requirement applies to UK parliamentary elections, including parliamentary by-elections, local council elections in England, and police and crime commissioner elections in England and Wales. It does not apply at local elections in Scotland or Wales, or elections to the Scottish Parliament or Senedd. The requirement already exists in Northern Ireland.

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.

The full list of accepted ID is available on the Electoral Commission’s website, along with more information about the requirement and details of how to apply for the free ID, at

The UK Government’s Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities is responsible for the voter ID policy and for the free voter ID application system. Enquiries relating to the application system or the policy itself should be directed to the department.

The Electoral Commission is responsible for ensuring voters are aware of the voter ID requirement, and for supporting local authorities with the process. Questions related to the public awareness campaign should be directed to the Electoral Commission.

Local authorities are responsible for implementing voter ID at the local level.

To apply for the Voter Authority Certificate, voters will need to provide a photo, full name, date of birth, the address at which they are registered to vote and their National Insurance number.