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Who is eligible to vote?

  • You have to be eighteen years or over
  • All British, Commonwealth, Irish and other European Union citizens
  • Overseas electors (British citizen living outside the UK register online)
  • Members of HM Forces and their spouses (register online)
  • Crown servants employed outside the United Kingdom
  • European citizens are allowed to vote in European and Local Elections only
  • Overseas electors are allowed to vote in Parliamentary and European Elections only.

Registering to vote and the Electoral Register

Where do I vote?

Your polling card will tell you which polling station you can vote at. A full list of polling station stations can be viewed on our where to vote information page.

How do I vote?

Poll cards are delivered shortly before an election. Each member of the household who is eligible to vote should receive a poll card which informs them of the date of the election, where their polling station is and the hours of poll. You do not need to take the poll card with you to be able to vote.

Voting in a polling station

Get your ballot paper

  1. When you arrive at the polling station, you will need to give your name to the poll clerk behind the desk. If you have your poll card with you, show them this and it will help speed up the process.
  2. The staff will then give you a ballot paper listing the candidates you can vote for. You might be given more than one ballot paper if there is more than one election taking place in your local area on the same day.
  3. Take your ballot paper (or papers) into a polling booth so that no one can see how you vote.
  4. Read the instructions carefully

Complete your ballot paper

  1. Complete the ballot paper in line with the instructions. There will be a pencil in the polling booth, but you can use your own pen if you prefer.
  2. Don't write anything else on the paper, or your vote may not be counted.
  3. If you make a mistake, don't worry, as long as you haven't already put it in the ballot box, just let the polling station staff know and they can give you further instructions or a replacement ballot paper.
  4. Once you're done, put your completed ballot paper in the ballot box.

Electoral commission guides

May 2021: Easy read and pocket guides to voting

Voting and coronavirus - casting your vote safely

Travelling to the polling station

You should not share a car with anyone from outside your household or your support bubble. You should follow the guidance on safer travel for passengers, which includes advice on private cars and other vehicles.

What happens when you go to the polling station?

Because of COVID-19, there will be safety measures in place at polling stations to help you vote safely. These measures may mean you may have to queue or wait for longer than usual to be able to cast your vote.

  • A face covering must be worn inside the polling station unless you are exempt.
  • Please take your own pen or pencil to mark the ballot paper. Pencils will also be available in the polling station and will be sanitised after each use.
  • There will be restrictions on the number of voters admitted to a station at any one time.
  • Social distancing will be enforced while queuing and throughout the voting process. Please adhere to any one-way systems, floor markings, signage, and any instructions from polling station staff.
  • Hand sanitizer will be provided upon entry and exit of the polling station. Voting booths, pencils, door handles and frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned regularly.
  • Try to avoid busy times if you can, such as before and after work, after the school run and lunchtime.

You should not attend the polling station if you have symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been asked to self-isolate. You can obtain an emergency proxy vote. 

If you already have a proxy appointed to vote for you, but the proxy is then affected by COVID-19, you can make an alternative, emergency proxy arrangement. It remains vital that people who need to self-isolate continue to do so.

Unable to get to the polling station on election day?

If you can't get to your polling station on election day, you can apply to vote by post or vote by proxy.

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