There are a number of ways to have your say in May this year; you can vote in a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, known as a proxy vote.

Most people vote in person at a polling station. Following the Polling District & Polling Place Review, conducted in early 2024, the place you usually go to vote may have changed. View a map of the borough and find your poll station.

How do I vote?

To vote in elections you must first be registered to vote, which can be done online in just five minutes.

You will receive a Poll Card through the post a little before the date of the election.

Your Poll Card will advise you which Polling Station you must attend to cast your vote, on polling day, between 7am and 10pm.

If you are voting in person at a poll station you will also need to ensure you bring an acceptable form of photo identification (Voter ID) with you.

Where can I vote?

You can search for your polling station ahead of any upcoming election by visiting the where do I vote? website. You will also find this information on your poll card. You can still vote if you’ve lost your card as you do not need to take your card with you in order to vote.

View a polling station map to find your polling station.

What is Voter ID?

The UK Government introduced legislation in 2022 requiring electors who vote at a polling station to show photographic identification (ID) before being given a ballot paper to vote in the following elections:

  • UK Parliamentary General Elections;
  • Borough Council and County Council elections in England;
  • Local referenda in England;
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales; and
  • Recall petitions.

This legislation is intended to ensure the security of the voting process and to reduce the risk of voter fraud through personation and applied for the first time at the local elections held in May 2023.

For more information - including a full list of accepted forms of photographic ID - visit: Accepted forms of photo ID | Electoral Commission.

If your photo ID has expired, you can still use it if the photo remains a good likeness of you. But only original documents will be accepted; scanned images or copies will not be accepted.

If you or someone you know doesn't have one of these forms of photo ID available to use, then you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate to use as your photo ID at the election instead. It will last for around 10 years and can be used for all elections during that time. 

You can apply for your free voter authority certificate online at Apply for photo ID to vote.

The requirement to have photographic ID only affects people voting in person at a polling station. It does not affect postal voters who have their identification verified by their signatures and date of births.

Because of the need to check photo ID at the Poll Station and make a note of what types of ID are used, you should anticipate the process of receiving your ballot paper taking a little longer than usual and the possibility of short queues forming at busy times.

No details will be taken from the ID you use, only a note of what type you use will be recorded to inform the Government and the Electoral Commission on which are the most popular types of ID being used.

Additional Support

View the Electoral Commission site for easy read, large print and alternative languages for the Voter Authority Certificate form.

View the British Sign Language (BSL) Video on Voter IDs - Applying for a Voter Authority Certificate.

You can find more information on what additional support is available to you on our website page Accessibility / Additional Support.

What will actually happen in the polling station on election day?

When you arrive at the polling station give your name and address to the staff inside or hand them your Poll card. 

They will ask to see your photographic identification.

You will be given a ballot paper containing a list of the people, parties or options you can vote for.

Follow the instructions on the notices in the polling booth and on the top of the ballot paper to vote, before placing it in the ballot box.

What if I can’t go a polling station to vote?

If you are registered to vote but unable to attend a polling station to cast your vote, you can also vote by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, known as a proxy vote.

Voting by post

You can apply for a postal vote online at apply for a postal vote.

You won't need to present any ID as your identification is verified by your signature and date of birth on your postal voting statement compared to your signature and date of birth on your postal vote application form.

When you apply for a postal vote, you will need to provide proof of your identity. Applications will require ID verification (DOB, National Insurance Number and Signature)

You can apply for a postal vote or cancel your postal vote up to 11 working days before the election. You will need to renew your postal vote every 3 years by resubmitting a new postal vote application.

If you live abroad and are registered, you can apply for a postal vote but you need to make sure you have time to receive and return your postal pack on polling day.

The easiest way to return your postal vote is by through the post, but you will need to make sure you post your pack in time for us to receive it.

Completing and returning your postal vote

When voting by post, you should follow the instructions provided closely:

  • mark your vote on your ballot paper(s) in secret
  • fill in the postal voting statement
  • put the ballot paper(s) and statement in the envelopes provided
  • seal the envelope yourself

You can watch a short video on how to complete your postal vote on our YouTube channel.

What if I am too late to post my ballot paper?

Take your completed and sealed postal vote pack to your local polling station by 10pm, or the council offices before it closes.

From May 2024, only voters, a family member or a designated carer will be able to hand in a postal vote pack.  If you choose to hand in a postal pack to a polling station or a member of staff authorised to receive it, you will need to complete a Postal Vote Return Form.

There is also limit on the number of postal vote packs that you can hand in at a polling station or to an authorised person. Voters will not be allowed to hand in more than five postal vote packs (in addition to their own).

Voting by Proxy

If you are unable to vote in person you can ask someone you trust to vote on your behalf. This is called a proxy vote.   

You can apply for a proxy vote if: 

  • You are unable to go to the polling station for one particular election, for example, if you are away on holiday 
  • You have a physical condition that means you cannot go to the polling station on election day 
  • Your employment means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day 
  • Your attendance on an educational course means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day 
  • You are a British citizen living overseas 
  • You are a crown servant or a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces 

There are different forms depending on the reason that you need a proxy vote. If you live abroad and are registered, you can also apply for a proxy vote. 

The easiest way to apply for a postal vote is online at Apply for a proxy vote.

There is a limit to the number of people that can act as a proxy and voters would be limited to acting as a proxy for two people, regardless of their relationship. However, anyone voting on behalf of UK voters who live overseas could act as a proxy for up to four people.  

You will be contacted when your proxy vote needs to be renewed, this is in most cases every 5 years.

Please make sure your trusted person is able to act as a proxy for you by visiting the Electoral Commission website above.

What do I do if I make a mistake?

If you make a mistake, call us immediately as we may be able to issue you with a replacement, depending on the date and time that you call us.  A member of the Electoral Services Team will be able to advise if there is anything we can do to help, call 02392 446225

Who can act as a proxy?

You can ask anyone to act as your proxy - as long as they are:

  • registered to vote
  • allowed to vote in the type of election taking place
  • can vote in the polling station stated on your poll card

Your proxy will need to show their photographic identification at the polling station before they are able to cast the vote on your behalf.

If they cannot get to your polling station, they will need to contact us to arrange to cast their proxy vote by post.

Change or cancel your proxy vote

To change who acts as your proxy or to start voting in person, contact us on 02392 446225 or by emailing

Additional Support

Electoral Commission – British Sign Language (BSL) videos

Electoral Commission – forms

View the Electoral Commission site for easy read, large print and alternative languages for the Voter Authority Certificate form.