In order to vote in a local, general or european election you must be on the electoral register.
A few weeks before the election you will be sent a poll card. This will tell you whether you are able to vote in person at your local polling station or by post.
After the polls close, the votes will be counted by special teams and the result declared - generally early the following morning.
Voting in person
If you have chosen to vote in person, your poll card will tell you:
Address of your local polling station
Opening times of your local polling station
You don't need to take your poll card with you to vote. If you lose it or forget to take it you will still be able to vote - you will just be asked to confirm your name and address.
You will be given a ballot paper. In the privacy of the voting booth mark an ‘X’ next to the candidate you want to vote for. Put your folded ballot paper into the ballot box.
Find your designated polling station by using 'My Gateshead' and simply entering your home postcode or address to find the polling station for your area.
Anyone can apply to vote by post, instead of going to a polling station. Request an application form from Electoral Services.
Your poll card will tell you when you can expect to receive your ballot paper - generally two weeks before the day of the election.
To make sure nobody else can use your vote your ballot paper arrives with a ‘security statement’. You need to sign this and give your date of birth, and return it with your completed ballot paper. Your security statement signature and information is checked against your original application.
You must complete and return your ballot paper and security statement by election day, or your vote will not be counted.
A proxy vote means you can nominate someone to vote on your behalf if you can’t get to a polling station.
You can choose to vote by proxy for a definite or indefinite period of time if you:
Are Registered blind
Have a physical disability
Are away from home because of your job or a course
Registered as a service voter (armed forces only)
You may also be able to apply for a temporary proxy vote if for example, you are going on holiday or will be in hospital at the time of the election.
We work hard to ensure that voting is accessible. Polling stations, where possible, have physical access, low-level booths and equipment available. If you find it difficult to get to your polling station, you can vote in different ways.
If you need help on polling day you can ask the staff to mark your ballot paper for you. Alternatively, you can bring a family member or a person who can vote at the election to mark it for you.
To make it easier to vote without another persons help all polling stations also provide a tactile voting device and at least one large print display version of the ballot paper.