Voting at the polling station in person

Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm on polling day. They can get very busy, particularly towards the end of the day.

You might see people waiting outside the polling station who ask you for the number on your polling card.

These people are called ‘tellers’, and are volunteering on behalf of candidates. They use the information people give them to check who has voted, and remind people who haven’t to do so. They are allowed to be there and to ask for the information, but you don’t have to give them any information if you don’t want to.

When you arrive at the polling station, you will need to give your name to the poll clerk behind the desk. If you have your poll card with you, show them this and it will help speed up the process.

The staff will then give you a ballot paper listing the candidates you can vote for. You might be given more than one ballot paper if there is more than one election taking place in your local area on the same day.

Take your ballot paper (or papers) into a polling booth so that no one can see how you vote. Read each ballot paper carefully. Different elections might use different electoral systems, so it’s important to make sure you know how to fill it in correctly. Some elections ask for one cross in one box. Others might ask you to rank candidates with numbers.

Complete the ballot paper in line with the instructions. There will be a pencil in the polling booth, but you can use your own pen if you prefer. Don’t write anything else on the paper, or your vote may not be counted.

If you make a mistake, don’t worry – as long as you haven’t already put it in the ballot box, just let the polling station staff know and they can give you a replacement ballot paper.

Once you’re done, put your completed ballot paper in the ballot box.

The short video below demonstrates the process in action.

Asking for help

If you’re not sure what to do, or need any help, just ask the staff at the polling station – they will be happy to assist you to cast your vote.

If you have a disability which means you can’t fill in the ballot paper yourself, you can ask the Presiding Officer to mark the ballot paper for you.

If you have a visual impairment, you can ask for a large print ballot paper, or a special voting device, to help you cast your vote.

Taking photos

Taking photos inside the polling station isn’t allowed as it might risk the secrecy of the ballot. You are more than welcome to take photos outside the polling station, and share them on social media to encourage your friends and family to vote. Never photograph your ballot paper!

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