So it's December 12th, the big day arrives. What happens next?
If you've registered to vote, you will recieve a polling card to the address you voted at. This polling card will tell you where your polling station is. You cannot go to any polling station, it has to be the one you have been designated on this card. If you do not have your polling card, you can use this tool to find out where your polling station is.
Your polling station will be open from 7am to 10pm. Polling stations are usually staffed by council staff and volunteers from the local community, and are there to make sure the process goes smoothly. Should you need to any help on the day, speak to a member of staff at the polling station.
When you arrive to vote at your designated polling station, find the station volunteer(s) and tell them your name. They will then find you on their list of voters, cross you off their list and hand you a ballot paper. They may ask for your address if they are having trouble finding you.
You then go to the voting booth, make your seletion, fold up your ballot paper then return to the volunteers and place your ballot in the ballot box. It is important that you ballot paper does not contain any other mark, otherwise it runs the risk of being 'spoiled' meaning that your vote may not count.
A few final reminders
Voting is an incredibly simple process, but here's a last few things to make sure you don't forget
- Polling stations close at 10pm. If you are in the queue by that time, you are still entitled to vote even if you have not cast your ballot yet. If you arrive after 10pm, you will be turned away.
- You are not obliged to present anybody with identification proving who you are or your polling card, unless you are voting in Northern Ireland. You are also not obliged to tell anybody who you plan to vote for, or have voted for.
- To protect the electoral process, photography inside polling stations is prohibited. We all love a selfie, but outside only!
- Campaigning inside polling stations is prohibited. This includes the wearing of party rosettes inside polling stations. If you feel that best practice is not being followed, contact your local Electoral Registration Officer which can be found here.