How Do I Vote?
How do I vote?
You will receive a polling card in the post a few weeks before the election it will have details of your polling station, (or you can find it here).
Polling stations open from 7am – 10pm on the day of the election.
When you get to the polling station the staff will give you a ballot paper. If there is more than one election taking place in your local area on the same day you may receive more than one ballot paper.
You can then take your ballot paper into one of the polling booths so that no one can see who you are voting for. Read the ballot paper carefully, if you have been given several ballot papers make sure you know which election you are voting in.
Mark your ballot paper according to the instructions. Usually you are asked to put an X in the box of your preferred candidate.
Is voting in person safe?
Polling stations will be safe places to vote. If you choose to vote in person, you can keep yourself and others safe by:
- wearing a face covering
- bringing your own pen or pencil
- cleaning your hands when entering and leaving the polling station
- keeping a safe distance
You should not attend the polling station if you have symptoms of Covid-19, or if you have been asked to self-isolate.
We will continue to follow the most up to date public health guidance as we prepare for the elections, and will update this page as more information and guidance becomes available.
What happens if I fall ill with Covid-19 or need to self-isolate at the last minute?
If you are self-isolating or become unwell as a result of Covid-19 shortly before polling day, or on the day itself, you don’t need to miss out on your vote. You will be able to apply for an emergency proxy vote – where someone you trust can vote on your behalf. Speak to the electoral registration team at your local council who will tell you what you need to do to arrange this.
Will I need to bring my own pen or pencil?
Yes, you should bring your own pen and pencil to minimise contact.
There will be clean pencils available at the polling station if you forget to bring your own.
Is it safer to vote by post, instead of going in person?
Polling stations will be safe places to vote in May, but you can choose to apply to vote by post or by proxy instead if you wish.
There are a few different electoral systems used in the UK. Depending on the electoral system, your ballot paper might ask you to vote for one candidate or even list your candidates in order of preference.
Read our guides to the different electoral systems to see how to vote in each one.
If you're worried about the integrity of elections in the UK we recommend you read our Q&A the Association of Electoral Administrators. They'll tell you how your vote is protected, why election staff should be trusted, and why they use pencils not pens in polling stations.
You may also be interested in our behind the scenes guide to the 2019 General Election, written by someone involved in organising polling day.
What is a postal vote?
Voting by post is a way of voting that you can use if you are unable to get to the polling station. So, this method of voting means that you can cast your vote in your home constituency while living away at university.
To vote by post, you need to be registered to vote. Then you need to fill in a postal vote application form. Once you have completed the form, you’ll need to print it, sign it, and send it back to your local electoral registration office (find yours here).
The deadline for postal vote applications is usually eleven working days before polling day.
Your postal vote is normally sent out about a week before election day.
What is a proxy vote?
If you have reasons that mean you are unable to vote, it is possible to appoint someone to vote on your behalf, you will have to provide reasoning and appoint someone you trust to vote for you.
How do I spoil my ballot?
What happens if you don’t agree with any of the candidates available to you? Spoiling your ballot is one way to show your dissatisfaction.