Elections - voting
Whatever your political views, it is important that you exercise your right to vote at all elections. Below is information advising you about voting.
A new electoral register is compiled during the autumn every year and a new version of the electoral register is published on 1 December each year. Information is requested from every household to produce the new register. If you move after publication of the register you can apply to re-register at your new address. Contact us and we can send you an application form to re-register.
To vote you need to be 18 years of age or over on polling day and your name must be on the electoral register for one of the Electoral Areas (Wards/Divisions/Parishes/Constituencies) where an election is being held. If your name is not included on the register then unfortunately, you will not be able to vote. Applications to vote at elections can be accepted up to 11 working days before an election is held. It is advisable though to make applications to register well in advance of an election being held.
All registered electors will be sent an official poll card. Details of where to vote, the date and times of voting and how to vote are shown on the card.
You can vote without your poll card (provided you have not applied for a postal vote) but it does save time if you take it to the polling station.
Postal Voters are also sent a card advising them of the election.
Once at the polling station, hand over your poll card (if you have taken it) to one of the official polling station staff. Tellers [the people who sit outside the polling station] are not part of the official polling station Staff; they are appointed by the political parties for their own purposes. Once your name has been found on the register the clerk will issue you with a ballot paper. If you wish you may have your poll card back to show to the tellers outside the station (but you do not have to do this if you don't want to).
Go to one of the booths and mark a cross (X) in the box on the right had side of the ballot paper. (The number of candidates you can vote for can vary depending on the type of election). Fold the ballot paper in two. Do not show anyone your vote. Put the folded ballot paper in the ballot box and leave the polling station.
If you make a mistake and need another ballot paper, show it to the presiding officer and ask for another one. He/she will take your spoilt ballot paper from you when you are issued with a replacement ballot paper.
An enlarged version of the ballot paper will be displayed at the polling station and a template for those who are partially sighted or who experience dyslexia are available for use at the polling station.