For this year’s local elections on 3rd May, if you live and vote in the Borough of Swindon you will be required to bring your poll card as a form of identification.

Your poll card will be hand delivered to you in the first few weeks of April – make sure you keep it safe.

This year, your poll card will be different as each one contains a barcode that is unique to the individual and will be scanned before you vote.

Swindon is trialling the use of voter ID along with four other councils in England – Woking, Gosport, Bromley and Watford.

The pilots are being overseen and funded by the Government and are the first in a series to allow the Electoral Commission and Cabinet Office to evaluate the impact of asking for ID before a decision is taken on whether or not to roll it out nationally.

The purpose of the pilots is to reduce electoral fraud. Although Swindon doesn’t have an issue with electoral fraud, national figures from the Electoral Commission indicate alleged electoral fraud through voter impersonation more than doubled between 2014 and 2016.

Many countries around the world have already made it a requirement to prove identity at a polling station. It is already a requirement in Northern Ireland, where ID has been requested since 1985. There have been no reports of voter impersonation there since 2003.

Registered voters will receive a letter in March 2018 explaining what they will need to do to vote in this year’s elections. The pilot does not affect postal voting.

For more information about the Voter ID pilot click here.

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