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How to vote and electoral registration

Electoral register

The electoral register is a list of the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote. If you are not on the register, you cannot vote

Electoral registration is done by the district councils but the Electoral Commission have a web site called "Your Vote MattersOpens new window" with all the information you need.

If you want to register to vote, visit www.yourvotematters.co.ukOpens new wind

If you are registered to vote you will be sent a polling card before an election. The card tells you when the election takes place and the address of your polling station.

Voting at a polling station

On election day you can vote between 7am to 10pm. You will be asked for your name and address, or you can hand in your polling card.

You will then be given a ballot paper which you take into the polling booth and mark with an 'X' next to the candidate you are voting for. Fold the paper in half and put it into the ballot box.

Postal voting

Anyone can vote by post instead of going to a polling station, providing you are on the electoral register. Your ballot paper will come in the post two weeks before election day. Follow the instructions that come with the postal vote and make sure that you return your ballot paper by Election Day, or your vote will not be counted.

Proxy voting

With a proxy vote someone votes on your behalf if you are unable to get to the polling station on Election Day, providing you are on the electoral register.

If you want a proxy vote, you must have one of the following reasons:

  • You are a registered as a service voter.
  • You are registered as an overseas elector.
  • You have a physical disability.
  • You are away from home due to your job or you are on a course.
  • You have to travel by air or sea to get to your polling station.

In all the above cases, except if you are registered blind, someone has to certify on your application that the reason is valid. This could be, for example, your employer or doctor.

Can anyone vote?

You can only vote if your name is on the electoral register. You are eligible to vote if you are:

  • 18 or over on the day of the election.
  • A British, Commonwealth, Irish or other European Union citizen.
  • A member or spouse of HM Forces.
  • A crown servant employed outside the UK.

European citizens are allowed to vote in European and local elections only.
Overseas electors are allowed to vote in parliamentary and European elections only.

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