The Post Office is urging people to plan now for the new photo ID requirement at next month’s local elections.
Voters are advised to consider whether there is enough time for a new passport or driver’s licence to be returned to them if they are intending to use it as their photo ID in order to vote at the elections on May 4.
Elinor Hull, Post Office identity services director, said: “No one wants to see someone turned away from voting at a polling station because they don’t have the required form of ID with them.
“Many people with an expiring passport will be desperate to renew it before the summer holidays, but if you’re planning to do so around the local elections it’s important to consider what other form of photo ID you have to vote.
“We know from sales of our own Post Office PASS card how popular it is among younger people.
“We want to do what we can to raise awareness among young people in particular that they may already have an acceptable form of photo ID that’s in their wallet, that they likely use it frequently in their day-to-day life and that they can use it to vote at May’s elections.”
Angela Rayner, Labour deputy leader and shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster said: “The Tories’ expensive and unnecessary voter ID policy is continuing to unravel with voters at risk of being caught out while renewing driving licenses and passports.
“No one should be missing out on democracy because this Government can’t keep our public services running effectively.
“If voters don’t have the Government’s required photo ID, the easiest way to vote is by signing up for a postal vote.”
A Government spokesperson said: “We cannot be complacent when it comes to ensuring our democracy remains secure. Photo identification has been used in Northern Ireland elections since 2003.
“The vast majority of people already have a form of acceptable identification. We’re urging anyone who doesn’t to apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate as soon as possible and we expect more people to apply over the next few weeks.
“We’re working closely with the sector to support the rollout and are funding the necessary equipment and staffing for the change in requirements.”