Sixteenper cent of respondents were unaware of the Government’s photo IDrule to vote in next month’s local elections, a straw poll by DevonCounty Council has found.

Ofthe 352 people who responded, 16 per cent did not realise voters mustshow a valid form of photographic identification when they cast theirvote at polling stations on May 4.

Thesame number of people had heard about the new requirement, but don'thave the correct identification.

Sixtyseven per cent of responses had heard about the rules and do alreadyhave an accepted form of identification.

TheGovernment introduced the rule last year.  The Cabinet Officewebsite says

“In ourcurrent electoral system, there is inexcusable potential for someoneto cast another's vote at the polling station.

“Allyou need to do is say a name and address when you go to vote. Showingidentification to prove who they are is something people of all walksof life already do every day.

“It isa reasonable and proportionate approach to extend this practice tovoting and give the public confidence that their vote is theirs, andtheirs alone.”

Provingone’s identify brings the rest of the UK in line with NorthernIreland, where photo identification to vote has been required since2003.

Photo IDthat will be accepted include various concessionary travel passes,driver's licences, passports and photocard parking permits issued aspart of the Blue Badge scheme, plus other identification such as theProof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS), or Ministry of Defence identitycards.

Expiredforms of identification will be accepted as long as the photograph isa good enough likeness.

If youhave none of these, or you no longer look like the photo on youridentification, you may need to apply for a Voter AuthorityCertificate.

Ifyour name on your photo identification is different to your name onthe electoral register, you can register to vote again or take adocument with you to vote that proves that you have changed yourname.  Or you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate.

Andit's not too late.  Applications to receive a Voter AuthorityCertificate before the May 4 elections in England, need to be made by5pm on Tuesday April 25.

It's freeto apply online or by post,and you'll need arecent, digital photo of yourself andyourNational Insurance number

DevonCounty Council libraries are also helping people apply if they needassistance.  Just go along to your nearest Devon County Councillibrary and ask to use one of the public access computers to makeyour application, and staff will help if they can.

Districtcouncil offices are also helping people with their applications forthe Voter Authority Certificate.

Acouncil spokesperson: “Weran a quick straw-poll over one week to find out roughly whetherpeople are aware of the Government's new requirement, or not. And ifthey were, whether they have the required ID.

“Ourfindings show that 16 per cent - or getting on for two in every fiveof the people who responded to our straw-poll - weren't aware of thenew rules.   

“Asame number, who were aware of the new rules, said that they don’thave the required form of ID.

"We’reraising the issue because it's important for democracy that peopletake the opportunity to vote in their local elections and futureelections and referendums. 

“Voterswho do not produce a Voter Authority Certificate, or valid photoidentification, risk not being allowed to vote on the day.”

Formore information, visit the Electoral Commission’s website Devon County Council’s bulletin at