Voting in elections in the UK does not require you to bring any form of ID to the polling station. Why is this? Could someone vote multiple times by giving different addresses?

  • 6
    The main reason is that in the UK there is no compulsory national ID, so it would be rather pointless to ask for something which not everybody has. However, I upvoted this post for the second question, which is quite interesting.
    – A. Darwin
    May 6, 2016 at 7:53
  • (while there is no suggestion of impersonation fraud being a problem in the UK, it's much easier to get duplicate postal votes. Potentially dozens at the same address.)
    – pjc50
    Apr 20, 2017 at 9:26
  • Note that the premise of this question is not valid in Northern Ireland where ID is required to vote
    – stuart10
    May 23, 2019 at 17:12

2 Answers 2


Registered voters are issued with polling cards, usually by post. However you do not need a polling card to vote as long as you are on the electoral roll.

In polling stations where there are a small number of voters (eg in small villages) and the staff know you by sight they will often just allow you to vote if you give your name. Presumably there is some risk of fraud here but you are running as serious risk of getting caught and the associated consequences if you get caught if the person you are impersonating has already voted or turns up to vote later.

It is also worth noting that individual poling stations in the UK all tend to serve quite small areas and you need to talk to the officers to receive your ballot paper so the chances of being noticed if you try to vote more than once are high.

In reality significantly influencing any vote by impersonation would require a huge and centralised logistical effort and the political and legal consequences for the party trying it would be catastrophic if they got caught.

To pull this off you would need to be able to identify individuals who are unlikely to vote and find large numbers of people willing to risk serious criminal penalties to help you.

Electoral fraud UK


Voting in elections in the UK does not require you to bring any form of ID to the polling station. Why is this?

Because there is no form of ID that everyone is required to have.

There is an argument that insisting on, say, passports or driving licences, would discriminate against the poorer in society, as they are less likely to have either.

Could someone vote multiple times by giving different addresses?

You can be registered to vote in two places if you have two homes, or are a student living away from home.


If an elector is registered to vote in two different electoral areas, they are eligible to vote in local elections for the two different local councils. However, it is an offence to vote twice in any one election. Such an offence could result in a fine of up to £5,000.

  • makes sense, but it still seems possible for someone to vote twice in the same constituency (by providing details of a neighbour). Could this be prevented by asking everyone to submit their polling card at the polling station? May 6, 2016 at 15:58
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    Side point: Passports in the UK are also restricted to people who have known someone within a specific profession for at least two years. Thus requiring a passport to vote in the use would effectively restrict voting for people representing particular classes, particularly those in traditionally 'working-class' or 'lower-class' areas and social circles. May 7, 2016 at 10:38
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    @RichAshworth a lot of things are possible, but aren't necessarily an issue. There's the chance that someone could manage to make it to multiple polling sites under multiple names or identities and cast more than one vote. But elections aren't usually decided by one person and when they are, they're often contested and scrutinized to weed out things like that. So, the usual answer to this question is usually "forcing people to carry 'papers' a) disenfranchises more voters than its worth (ie, causes more harm than it prevents) and b) is a bit too big-brotherish for a lot of people's taste."
    – user1530
    May 7, 2016 at 15:53
  • @RichAshworth note that you'd have to do it at different polling stations, or wait for a shift change in the staff; otherwise someone will notice if you come back.
    – pjc50
    Apr 20, 2017 at 9:27
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    @O.R.Mapper It's a slightly inaccurate rendering of the need to have your first passport photos for a UK passport countersigned by someone "in good standing" gov.uk/countersigning-passport-applications gov.uk/countersigning-passport-applications/…
    – origimbo
    Feb 16, 2018 at 19:53

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