Voters have been urged to remember to bring photo ID with them ahead of two Bolton Council byelections later this month.

Polls will take place in the Kearsley and Westhoughton North and Hunger Hill wards on in November after two councillors resigned on the same day at the start of October.

But officials have reminded that because of a new rule introduced by the government earlier this year, anyone wishing to vote will have to show photo ID like drivers licences or passports at polling stations.

Bolton Council chief executive Sue Johnson said: “It is vital that everyone who wants to have their say at local elections is able to do so.

“We want to remind voters in both wards to bring an accepted form of photo ID with them to the polling station on November 16.

The Bolton News: One Kearsley leader and founder Paul Heslop resigned in OctoberOne Kearsley leader and founder Paul Heslop resigned in October (Image: Public)

“I would also urge residents to check that their friends, family, and neighbours remember to bring their ID, so that nobody who is eligible to vote is turned away on the day.”

This can also include provisional drivers licences, some kinds of travel passes such as older people’s bus passes and expired ID as long as would-be voters are still recognisable from the photographs.

Bolton voters were first required to show photo ID at the all-out council elections held last May.

The Bolton News: Bernadette Eckersley-Fallon resigned from her seat in Westhoughton North and Hunger Hill last monthBernadette Eckersley-Fallon resigned from her seat in Westhoughton North and Hunger Hill last month (Image: Public)

The byelections will now be held this month after the surprise resignations of Paul Heslop, of Kearsley, and Bernadette Eckersley-Fallon, of Westhoughton North and Hunger Hill. 

But requiring people to show photo ID has been a controversial idea since it was first proposed by the government.

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Last year, before the changes were rolled out nationally, a motion put to Bolton Council by the then-Cllr Kevin McKeown urged the government to think again.

Speaking at the time, Cllr McKeown said:  “The need to present photo ID will be a deterrent to the many voters who don’t possess valid photo ID at a time when our focus ought to be on encouraging greater participation in elections.

“If implemented, this policy will have a detrimental effect on the democratic process in Bolton.

“It will also present a further burden on already overstretched council officers as they will need to train polling clerks and presumably create a system for voters who don’t have accepted forms of photo ID.”

The byelections will be held on November 16.