Register before you can vote
Follow this link to find out how to register to vote: Registering to vote.
Voting at the Polling Station
Just before an election, you will be sent a polling card that tells you where and when to vote. On election day, you go to the polling station to vote - usually a local hall or other public building, such as a school in the area where you live. Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm on polling day.
Arriving at the polling station
When you arrive at the polling station, tell the election staff your name and address. You can take your polling card with you to show who you are. The staff at the polling station will give you a ballot paper, which is a list of the people or parties you can vote for. The ballot paper will tell you how many votes you have. You can ask a member of staff at the polling station for help.
Filling in your ballot paper
No-one is allowed to see who you vote for, so make sure you vote in a polling booth, with a screen around it, so that you can vote in privacy. Put an 'X' by the person or party you want to vote for. Fold your ballot paper, preferably in half, and put it in the ballot box. You can find out further information on the voting process by clicking on the following Electoral Commission website links.
Who can vote in UK general elections
You can vote in UK general elections once you are on the electoral register and provided that you are also aged 18 or over on polling day
a British citizen, or a Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the Irish Republic (living in the UK), and not legally excluded from voting, for example, if you are in prison.
Who can't vote at a general election
At a Parliamentary General Election, all the voters shown on the Register of Electors for the area can vote, with the exception of the following people, who can't vote:
- anyone under 18 years old on polling day;
- members of the House of Lords;
- European Union citizens;
- citizens of any other country apart from the Irish Republic and Commonwealth countries;
- people serving a sentence in prison; and
- anyone found guilty of breaking election law in the last five years
Other ways to vote
Making sure no-one interferes with the elections
There are laws and security measures to prevent people illegally interfering with the elections. It's an offence to:
- falsely apply for a postal or proxy vote;
- supply false information or fail to supply information to the electoral registration officer at any time; and
- unduly influence someone, even if it doesn't affect the way they vote
After every election, a list of those who voted by post will be published, so you can check that your vote was received. Certain people can apply to observe elections in polling stations, when postal ballot papers are opened and when votes are counted.