At the time of an election, full details of the election timetable and voting arrangements will be publicised widely. If you qualify to vote in an election, we will send you a poll card telling you the date and time of the election and the address of your polling station.
This easy guide explains what you have to do to vote. Your vote helps to choose the people who make decisions on issues that affect you. You can vote in person. Alternatively you can apply to vote by post or apply to vote by proxy.
The register of electors is a list of everyone who is registered to vote. You must be on the register to be able to vote.
If you are on the register of electors, you will be sent a card just before an election. This is called a poll card. It tells you where and when to vote. Please note that you will be sent a poll card even if you vote by post, the poll card is for information only and you do not actually need it to cast your vote.
On election day, go to the polling station. The polling station is often a school or local hall near where you live. 'Polling' is another word for voting. Tell the staff inside the polling station your name and address so they can check that you're on the register. You can show them your poll card, but you do not need it to vote.
The staff at the polling station will give you a list of the people or parties you can vote for. This is called a ballot paper. You may be given more than one ballot paper if there is more than one election on the same day.
Go into a polling booth so that no one can see how you vote.
You will be asked to put a cross (X) in the box next to the person or party you want to vote for. Do not write anything else on the ballot paper or your vote may not be counted.
Fold the ballot paper in half and put it in the ballot box. If you are not clear what to do, ask the staff at the polling station to help you. Do not let anyone see your vote. When the voting is over the votes are counted. The winner or winners are the people with most votes. They are responsible for representing you. You can ask them about issues that affect you, by phone, by letter or by email. You can also ask to meet and speak to them in person.