Voters in parts of England are heading to the polls to cast their ballots for councilors and mayors in this year’s local elections.
Elections are being held in 230 of England’s 317 councils, within district, borough, county borough and unitary authority councils, along with four mayoral elections in Bedford, Leicester, Mansfield and Middlesbrough.
There are no local elections in Scotland or Wales, but voters in Northern Ireland will be able to have their say on 18 May, with 462 seats across 11 local councils up for grabs.
Polls open at 7am and will close at 10pm, giving voters a 15-hour window to mark their ballots.
But for the first time, people will be required to take ID with them to be eligible to vote.
A full list of valid identification can be found herewith examples including a driving licence, passport and older person’s bus pass.
However, travel passes for younger people, such as a young person’s railcard, will not be accepted.
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Speaking to Sky News this morning, the Electoral Commission’s director of communications, Craig Westwood, said voters would be able to use an expired ID at polling stations as long as it still looks like them.
Mr Westwood said passports, driving licenses and disability blue badges that were out of date could all be used as long as the photo still resembles the user.
He said: “There is a specific list of around 20 [forms of ID] so I urge people to check that list.
“One important thing is that I haven’t checked the dates on your IDs but what I can say is that they all look like you and that’s the really important thing.
“If you’ve got an ID which has expired that doesn’t matter as long as it still looks like you.”
He added that Electoral Commission research found that around 96% of people already have an eligible photo ID.
As voting got under way, photos emerged of people’s dogs outside polling stations – something which has become a trend in recent years.
The Local Government Association has urged voters to be patient with polling staff if there are queues, or if the process “takes a little longer than usual” due to the new rules.
Results will begin coming in overnight on Thursday and into Friday, with Sky News bringing you full coverage both on TV and online.
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