How to vote

What to do at the polling station, how to vote by proxy or by post and how to find a polling station.

Vote in person

If you are registered to vote then you should receive a poll card at least two weeks before an election or referendum.

Each member of your household who is eligible to vote should receive a poll card. 

A poll card is for information only and you do not need it to vote.

The card will state:

  • the date of the election or referendum
  • the hours of poll
  • where your polling station is

If you do not receive a poll card please:

Find your polling station

You can also find the location of your polling station online.

Find my polling station on The Democracy Club

If you need extra support to vote in person

If you have a disability or require extra help to vote in person find out how we support:

Casting your vote

On the day of an election or referendum, your polling station will be open from:

  • 7am to 10pm

To vote in person you will need to take with you:

  • a valid form of photo identification (ID)

What to expect at the polling station

On arrival at the polling station, the clerk will ask you to:

  • confirm your name and address
  • show your photo ID 

If you do not have photo ID you cannot vote.

You will then be given your ballot papers, on which there will be an official stamp, barcode, or watermark.

Take the ballot paper to the voting booth and mark 'X' in the box next to the candidate, party or choice you wish to vote for.

To complete the voting process fold the paper and put it into a ballot box.

Transcript of Electoral Commission - What to expect at the polling station video

Why pencils are used to mark ballot papers in polling stations

Pencils are used at polling stations for practical reasons. With ink pens there is always a risk that they:

  • may dry out or spill
  • cause the mark you made on the ballot paper to transfer when you fold it, leading to your vote being rejected if, for example, it looks like you have voted for too many candidates or parties

However, you can choose to bring your own pen into the polling station and use it to vote if you want.

More information

To find out more about voting at polling stations, see: