Frequently asked questions - May 2021 elections

Below is a list of frequently asked questions and their answers relating to the upcoming elections in May 2021.

How will you be keeping me safe whilst I am voting?

Lots of safety measures will be in place when you vote. Watch this short video to see what to expect.

What do I need to bring with me when I vote?

  • Poll card
  • Face covering
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Your own black pen or pencil

All of these will be available at your polling station, however owing to coronavirus we would encourage you to bring your own.

Do I need my polling card with me to vote?

No. As long as you are on the electoral register you do not need to bring your polling card along with you to vote, however it does help polling staff to deal with you quicker.

Do I need identification to vote?

No, you do not need to provide identification to vote. When you arrive, staff will ask you to confirm your name and address and then cross off your name on their checklist.

Can I go to any polling station?

No.  You must vote at the polling station to which you have been assigned. Please check the details on your poll card to see which station you should be voting in.

If you have lost your polling card and don’t know which polling station to go visit https://wheredoivote.co.uk/  or contact our electoral services team at Havant Borough Council on 02392 446225/6 and we will confirm your polling station location.

If I'm in the polling station queue at 10pm can I still vote?

Yes. Any voter who arrives at the polling station before 10pm and is still waiting to receive their ballot paper at 10pm will be able to vote. Legislation was changed in 2013 to allow this to happen.

Assistance with voting at polling stations

Every polling station in the borough has the following available:

  • A device to enable blind or partially sighted voters to vote unaided.
  • At least one large-print version of the ballot paper displayed inside each station to assist partially-sighted voters.
  • Any voter with physical disabilities who is unable to vote without assistance or who is unable to read may be assisted either by a companion or by the presiding officer at the polling station.

Photos in a polling station

No electronic devices are allowed to be used in polling stations.

Hours of the poll

At all elections, the hours of poll, ie when the polling station will be open, are from 7am to 10pm.

Why do election staff write down my electoral number at the polling station before allowing me to vote?

The law requires that every ballot paper has a unique serial number and that a record is kept of the serial number of every ballot paper that is issued to every voter.

At the close of the poll, the documents which list the serial numbers of the ballot papers and the list of to whom they have been issued are sealed in special packets and cannot be opened unless a court order to do so is obtained.

The reason this is done is to enable checks to be made should a legal challenge be made to the result of the election. It is possible in UK law for the result of an election to be challenged through what is known as an election petition.

It is possible for the eligibility of an elector’s right to vote to be challenged in the courts after an election. If the challenge is successful, the court can order that the ballot papers of any electors who were not eligible to vote be retrieved and their votes discounted, and the result of the election changed to reflect the removal of these votes from the total.

This is a very unusual occurrence.

There are legal processes in place to protect the identity of electors and how they have voted from being discovered. It is only in circumstances where a court orders that it should be done.

There is only a very short period in which a challenge can be made – 21 days from the date of the election, and if no challenge is made in that period, all documents are subsequently destroyed.

What if I have made a mistake on the ballot paper in the polling station

If you make a mistake whilst marking your ballot paper, you should ask the presiding officer for a replacement paper. Your spoilt ballot paper will be taken from you and will not be placed in the ballot box. However, if you have already placed your ballot paper into the ballot box it is too late to change it.