How to vote
In order to vote in a Local Government or UK Parliamentary 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 are counted and the result declared, normally the following morning.
Your poll card will tell you the address and 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.
The law has now changed. From May 4 2023 you must bring photo ID with you when you go to the polling station, or you wont be able to vote.
Most people will already have a suitable ID however; it must be an original document and not a photocopy. For example you can use:
- driving license
- blue badge
- a PASS card (proof of age)
- biometric immigration document
- concessionary bus pass
- disabled persons bus pass
Anyone can apply to vote by post, instead of going to a polling station.
Your poll card will tell you when you will receive your ballot paper. This is normally around 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 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.
If you forget to post your ballot paper you can take it to your local polling station on the day of the election.
A proxy vote means you can get someone to vote on your behalf if you can't get to a polling station.
You can apply to vote by proxy:
- for a single election on a specific date
- for a specific period if you want to vote in England, Scotland and Wales
You can only apply to vote by proxy under certain circumstances, including:
- if you are registered blind
- if you have a physical disability
- if you are away from home because of your job or a course
- if you are not able to vote in person because of work or military service
You may also be able to apply for a temporary proxy vote if you are going on holiday, or will be in hospital at the time of the election.
You need to give the reason why you're applying for a proxy vote.
In most cases, you need someone to sign your application form to confirm your reasons for wanting a proxy vote. The application form will tell you who needs to sign it.
Please return your completed application to Electoral Services, Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead NE8 1HH.
0191 433 7001