I’ve lost my identity! Proving who you are can be complicated.

If you’re a woman, have been married several times and have kept using some of your exes’ surnames it can cause a fair bit of confusion! I have four legitimate surnames and this causes me no end of trouble on the rare occasion I have to provide my ‘legal’ name.

‘Which one do you want’, I ask perplexed officials. (I have strict instructions not to joke with border control officials when I go to the USA as my ex-husband once ended up being strip searched after being cocky with a gun-toting customs official. (Never look like you’re mocking a man with a gun - not a good plan…)

In the upcoming local district and town council elections, everybody who wants to vote must prove their identity at the polling station.

This is a huge concern for 86-year-old Jean Brand (pictured). Mrs Brand does not have a passport, a driving license, a bus pass or in fact any of the documents listed on the government website.

She assured me however that she can prove who she is and produced in evidence her ID card from the second world war!

‘I’ve kept this ID card for over 80 years,’ she comments. Why isn’t this on the list of acceptable forms of ID!”

Official results from the Census 2021 show that 8.0 million of us (13.5%) did not have a passport. It is not known how many of those without a passport also don’t have a driving license.

If you want to vote at a polling station, see a list of what is considered an acceptable form of identification. https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/voter-id/accepted-forms-photo-id Your local council officers will be able to help you. Your current district councillors should also be able to guide you to the right place.

For people who do not have any of the listed forms of identification, it is possible to apply for a voter authority certificate. The deadline for doing this is 5pm on Tuesday, April 25. https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate

If you need any help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate or want to request an application form, contact your local council or call the electoral commission helpline on 0800 328 0280.

Email: [email protected] or phone Teignbridge District Council: 01626 21510