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Different ways to vote

Last Modified February 16, 2024

You must be registered to vote before you can vote in UK elections or referendums. There are different ways to vote; in person at a polling station, by post or by nominating someone to vote on your behalf by proxy.

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 but you do need to take valid photo ID.

Polling stations - the places where you go to vote - are open on the day of the election from 7am until 10pm.

Not sure where your polling station is? Use the Polling station lookup tool to check.

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 ask for your photo ID. Once verified, they 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 for a postal vote or proxy vote (if you qualify to apply for a proxy voting method).

Voting by post

You can now apply online to vote by post. You will also need to prove your identity as part of the application process and reapply for a postal vote every three years.

If you apply to vote by post, you will receive your ballot paper through the post at election time with a personal identifier paper that must be completed with your signature and date of birth. Postal ballot papers are usually sent out two weeks before an election. They must be returned to us by 10pm on the day of an election in order to be included in the count.

Voting by proxy

If you’re unable to vote in person you can ask someone to vote on your behalf. Your nominated proxy must be eligible and registered to vote.

You can only apply for a proxy vote under certain circumstances, including:

  • being away on polling day
  • having a medical issue or disability
  • not being able to vote in person because of work or military service

Your proxy should be someone you trust to vote on your behalf. 

If you are unable to go to your polling station on election day you can register for a proxy vote online, 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.

If after this deadline you have a medical emergency or have to travel for work reasons that you were not aware of, please contact the elections office on 02082 077 481 or at elections@hertsmere.gov.uk, to arrange an emergency proxy. 

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