Voting in an election

There are three different ways you can vote in the UK, in person at a polling station, by post or by proxy.

Polling Station

The traditional method of voting is to go to a polling station to cast your vote. Polling stations are often located at a local school or hall near where you live. On Election Day, polling stations are open from 7am - 10pm. If you are on the electoral register, you will receive a poll card. The poll card will tell you where and when to vote.

By post

An alternative way to vote is by post, especially if you are unable to get to a polling station. Anyone aged over 18 can apply for a postal vote if you are on the electoral register and you do not need to provide a reason. You will need to fill in a postal vote application form which is available from your local electoral registration office. Postal voting in Northern Ireland varies from the rest of the UK and it is advisable to contact the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland for further information.

By proxy

An additional way to vote is by proxy, which can be useful if you are unable to get to a polling station. A proxy vote means that you appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf. This can be helpful if you fall ill or if you are abroad on Election Day. Anyone over 18 can apply for a proxy vote if you are on the electoral register but you will need to provide a reason.

Further information on how to vote can be found on the Electoral Commission website:

Related documents

Find out more about the referendum on changing the voting system used to elect MPs to the House of Commons that will take place on Thursday 5 May 2011.

Find out what voting systems are used to elect the House of Commons, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly, Northern Ireland Assembly, European Parliament and local authorities in the UK.