Before you can vote your name must be on the electoral register.
Voting is completely confidential and you can cast your vote in one of three ways: -
- In person at your designated polling station
Most people choose to vote in person at a polling station. Approximately 3 to 4 weeks before an election you will receive your polling card in the post. On this card you will find details of when, where and how to vote. It is easier if you take this with you when you vote although you can vote without it.
At the polling station you will be asked by the Poll Clerk for your name and address. You are required to say who you are and where you live rather than pointing to your name on the poll card. This verbal affirmation is proof that you are who you say you are. It is an offence to give false information and may result in prosecution.
You will then receive a ballot paper which will say how many candidates you can vote for. Simply take the ballot paper to a polling booth and put a cross next to the candidate(s) you wish to vote for.
Do not write anything else on the paper or you risk your vote not being counted. Fold the ballot paper to hide your vote, show the folded paper to the clerk and put it in the ballot box. You do not have to tell anyone who you voted for.
Elections are held between 7am to 10pm and are usually on a Thursday.
Have a look at the animated polling station walkthrough provided by the Electoral Commission to see how easy voting is.
- By post
More and more people are choosing to vote by post. A postal vote means you can receive their ballot paper in the post and return it to us by post. Although everyone on the electoral register is entitled to vote by post, you will need to apply for this well in advance of an election. Visit our Elections – voting by post page for further details.
- By proxy
A proxy vote means you can appoint another person to vote on your behalf, either at the polling station or by post. You will need to apply for this well in advance of an election and must meet certain eligibility criteria. Visit our Elections – voting by proxy page for further details.