In order to vote in an election you need to be on the electoral register.
- You have to be 18 or over and a resident in the electoral area
- You must be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen, or a citizen of a European Union country.
How to register
The way you register to vote has changed. Everyone is responsible for registering themselves. Under the old system the ‘head of every household’ could register everyone who lived at their address.
To register you will need to provide your full name, address, date of birth and your National Insurance Number. Look out for a confirmation to say you’re registered.
Voting by post
If you are unable to get to the polling station on polling day, you can apply to vote by post. Any person on the register can apply for a postal vote. The deadline for applications is 11 working days before an election.
Voting by proxy
Voting by proxy means that you appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf. Voting by proxy can be useful if you can’t get to the polling station on election day, for example if you fall ill or you are abroad.
If you already have a postal vote and wish to change to a proxy you must tell us 11 working days before the poll. The deadline for new proxy applications is 6 working days before an election.
In certain circumstances, where you have an emergency that means you cannot go to the polling station in person you can apply for an emergency proxy up to 5pm on the day of the poll.
- You must be on the electoral register to vote in any election
- By law, you must register to vote or you could be fined up to £80
- If you are not on the register you may find it harder to get a loan, mortgage, finance agreement, or even a mobile phone contract as the register is used by credit reference agencies
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