Cheshire East Council in partnership with Age UK Cheshire East, is urging residents to be cautious of fraudsters claiming to offer photo ID services for the upcoming elections.
Fraud is a serious crime, and the authorities are working hard to prevent it from happening. However, it is crucial that the public is aware of the tactics used by these criminals.
From 4 May 2023, voters in England will need to show photo ID to vote at polling stations in local elections. There are many accepted forms of photo ID, including a bus pass or blue badge. If you do not have one of the accepted forms, you can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate, which you will not be charged for.
Voters will be able to use expired ID if they are still recognisable from the photo. So, if you receive a call or visit from someone claiming to offer photo ID services, do not engage with them and report the incident to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Councillor Mick Warren, chair of Cheshire East Council's environment and communities committee, said: "Whenever there is a change in the way that something is done -- particularly something that has operated the same way for a very long time -- unfortunately, that's often where fraudsters see opportunity.
"If you think that you or someone you know has been the victim of a fraudster offering photo ID then please report it to Action Fraud. With elections taking place in Cheshire East on 4 May 2023, it is important that those who want to vote make sure they have an accepted form of ID. Checking now means you will be ready to vote in May.
"Residents who do 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 this to Cheshire East Council's electoral services team. If you need any help with applying for the free ID or want to request an application form, contact the electoral services team on 0300 123 5016 or email: email@example.com
"By working together, we will protect the integrity of the electoral process and ensure that everyone's vote counts."
Sally Wilson, project manager for the Age UK Cheshire East Scams Awareness and Aftercare Project said, "It has come to our attention that some individuals may be tricking people into paying for fake photo identification. We are committed to ensuring that everyone, including the elderly and vulnerable, has access to safe and secure voting. We urge the public to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity."
The Age UK Cheshire East Scams Awareness and Aftercare Project offers group and individual scams awareness sessions to older people in the north of the borough. To book a session, contact Sally Wilson on 01625 612958 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone who wants to have their say in the elections this May must also be registered to vote. It only takes five minutes to register online at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Voters wishing to apply to their council for free ID should first make sure they are registered to vote.
Eligible voters can, alternatively, vote by post. It's easy to apply and you can find out how by visiting the Electoral Commission website
The full list of accepted voter ID is available on the Electoral Commission's website https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/voter-id, along with more information about the new requirement and details of how to apply for the free ID.
Anyone who does not have one of the accepted forms of ID can apply, for free, online via the gov.uk website https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/voter-id/applying-a-voter-authority-certificate or by completing a paper form.
The requirement to show photo ID at the polling station is a new requirement, introduced by the UK Government's Elections Act, which was passed last year and comes into effect for the first time this May.
For more information on the upcoming elections, including the accepted forms of photo ID, please visit the council's website or contact the authority on 0300 123 5500.
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