Ahead of the General Election on 4 July, voters in East Lothian are being reminded of key information and changes which they need to be aware of before polling day.

Anyone who wants to vote in the election needs to be registered to vote. The deadline to register was 11:59pm on Tuesday 18 June. 

People registered to vote could apply for a postal vote by Wednesday 19 June.  You can also apply for a proxy vote by Wednesday 26 June to allow someone to vote on your behalf.

Voters are now required to show a valid form of photo identification (ID) when voting at polling stations in UK Elections. People who don’t already have an accepted form of photo ID should apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate, by Wednesday, 26 June.

There are also some changes to the rules regarding the handing in of postal votes.

Voter ID – further information

You may already have a form of photo ID that is acceptable - you can use any of the following:

  • passport
  • driving licence (including provisional licence)
  • blue badge
  • certain concessionary travel cards – such as the Scottish National Entitlement Card issued for the purpose of concessionary travel
  • identity card with PASS mark (Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • biometric immigration document
  • defence identity card
  • certain national identity cards

You will only need to show one form of photo ID, but it must be the original version and not a photocopy. The name on your ID must be the same name you used to register to vote. The photo ID can be out of date as long as the image shown clearly looks like you.

For more information, including the full list of accepted forms of photo ID, visit the Electoral Commission website or call their helpline on 0800 328 0280.

If you don’t already have an accepted form of photo ID, or you’re not sure if your photo ID still looks like you, you can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate.  The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate to use for this General Election is 5pm on Wednesday, 26 June.

Staff in any of East Lothian’s libraries will be happy to help people apply for the free voter ID document if they or anyone they know needs support to do so online.

Postal and proxy votes – further information

Voters are encouraged to send their postal vote by post where possible. You can only hand in up to five postal votes, plus your own, to John Muir House in Haddington or polling place in your constituency. If a person hands in more than five postal ballot packs for other electors, all the remaining postal votes will be rejected.

Should voters attempt to hand in their postal vote at other council offices staff will advise them to put their postal vote in a Royal Mail post box (if sufficient time allows), hand in to John Muir House, Haddington or to a polling place in the Lothian East constituency on Polling Day.

In all circumstances when handing in a postal vote, a form needs to be completed.

We cannot accept any postal votes which are left in the council mailbox, or which are put in the internal mail system.

The rules on who can hand in postal votes in some elections have also changed. Political parties and campaigners can only hand in postal votes for their family members, or people they provide care for.

The secrecy requirements which apply at a polling station are being extended to postal and proxy votes.

Boundary changes

For the UK parliamentary constituency, most of the East Lothian constituency sits in the new ‘Lothian East’ constituency. Most of the town of Musselburgh is in the Edinburgh East and Musselburgh constituency.

New polling places

There are some changes to polling places in the Lothian East constituency:

  • Pencaitland and Winton Bowling Club in place of Trevelyan Hall
  • Wallyford Learning Campus in place of Wallyford Community Centre
  • The Fraser Centre, Tranent in place of Tranent Town Hall
  • Voters that previously went to a portable unit at Fenton Barns will now go to Dirleton Church Hall.

‘Work well underway’

Monica Patterson, Chief Executive of East Lothian Council and Returning Officer for the Lothian East parliamentary constituency, said:

“With the UK General Election only a few weeks away, work to put the necessary arrangements in place and support voters is well underway.

“It is important that the electorate are aware of key information, such as how to register to vote and deadlines for how to apply for a postal and proxy vote.

“A number of changes are being introduced for this election which we are keen to highlight. It is now the case that, for elections to the UK Parliament, those attending a polling station to vote are now required to show a valid form of photo identification (ID). If anyone doesn’t already have an accepted form of photo ID, they can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate, by 26 June.

“There are also some changes to the rules regarding the handing in of postal votes.”

Published: Thursday, 30th May 2024