Last Modified December 13, 2012
There are different ways to cast your vote in an election.
At a polling station
Each member of your household who is eligible to vote (and has registered to do so) should receive a poll card which will tell you when the election is, where your polling station is and the hours it is open. You do not need to take the poll card with you to be able to vote.
Polling stations - the places where you go to vote - are open on the day of the election from 7am until 10pm.
What do I do at the polling station?
on arrival at your designated polling station, an official member of staff will ask you to confirm your name and address and will issue you with a ballot paper.
the ballot paper will be marked with an official stamp or watermark and contains details of the candidates who are standing for election.
you should take the ballot paper to the voting booth and mark an X against the name of the candidate you wish to vote for.
fold the ballot paper and put it in the ballot box.
What if I am unable to get to the polling station on election day?
If you know in advance you will be unable to go to your polling station on election day, you can apply to vote by post or by proxy.
Voting by post
More and more people are finding it more convenient to vote by post. If you choose to have a postal vote, you will not receive a poll card but instead receive information in the post with details of candidates and a voting paper to return. You must apply in advance to vote by post. Our guidance notes may help you.
Voting by proxy
If you are unable to go to your polling station on election day you can register for a proxy vote, whereby someone you have given authority to can go and vote on the day on your behalf.
You need to apply in advance for a proxy vote. Your application will need to be with us six working days before an election. (Please note, this deadline may change depending on the outcome of the new Electoral Administration Bill currently being considered).
You can apply for a proxy vote:
If your work frequently takes you overseas.
If you will be on holiday when the election is taking place.
If you are working during all hours of voting, for example as a member of the election staff.
Indefinite and fixed period proxy applications (except from registered blind persons or persons receiving the higher rate of mobility allowance) must be verified by:
a registered medical practitioner
the head of a care home
your employer or, if self-employed, by a someone aged 18 or over who knows you and is not related to you, or
the director or tutor of your course.
Proxy applications for a particular election must also give a reason why you cannot attend the polling station.