Blog, Policy briefing | 14 June 2024

General election 2024: How to make sure your voice is heard

In last year's local elections, 14,000 people were turned away from voting because they didn't have the right ID. So, what does it mean for people hoping to have their say on who will be the next UK prime minister?

If you’re a woman with a conviction, your voice is vital and you deserve to cast your vote. To do so, you need to make sure that you're registered to vote, and that you've got the right ID.

Here's some key milestones to make sure you're eligible.

Key dates for the general election
18 June Deadline to register to vote
19 June Deadline to apply for a postal vote
20 June Deadline to apply for a Citizen Card (photo ID, costs between £18-35)
26 June Deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (free voter ID)
26 June Deadline for proxy vote applications (apply to get someone to vote on your behalf)
4 July General election/polling day

What are the different kinds of ID?

A Citizen Card is a form of photo ID that can prove your age and identity. If you have other forms of photo ID, you do not need to purchase a Citizen Card.

A Voter Authority Certificate (VAC) can be used to vote in some elections and referenda in Great Britain, including the general election on 4 July. You cannot use it as proof of ID for any other reason. You only need to apply for a VAC if you do not have accepted photo ID, you no longer look like the photo on your ID, or the name on your photo ID is different to your name on the electoral register. A VAC is free, unlike a passport or another form of ID, you just need to make sure you apply in time.

Key links to ensure you're able to vote

Why don't some women with convictions have any form of ID?

Something we see very often at Working Chance is women coming to us with no ID – something which is needed for most pre-employment checks and to participate in elections.

But why are women with convictions less likely to have ID than others?

  • Firstly, ID can be expensive – many women with convictions have come from or return to economically disadvantaged backgrounds. With a UK passport now costing £100.50 (for adults 16 and over), it is often simply unaffordable. If you are looking for more affordable forms of ID, take a look at the links above where you can obtain either a Citizen Card or Voter Authority Certificate.
  • Homelessness and unstable housing – a significant number of women with convictions experience homelessness or are living in unstable housing. They might be staying with family or friends, or living in Approved Premises after release from prison. Without a permanent address, getting ID can be challenging or even impossible. If you are homeless or have no fixed address, you can still vote in the upcoming election. Please look at this information from Crisis about what you need to do.
  • Loss of ID – some women lose belongings including personal documents during arrests, prison sentences, or relocations. Replacing everything that was lost takes time and money.
  • Leaving prison with no ID – while many prisons have a specific member of staff dedicated to assisting prison residents with IDs and bank accounts ready for release, we still see many women leave prison without them. This can set women back as they try and build a life after prison, as ID is needed to apply for benefits, get a job, or to vote.