You must be registered to be able to vote. Every voter must register to vote individually. It's quick and easy to register to vote at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. The last day you can register and be eligible to vote in elections on 6 May 2021 is 19 April 2021.
There are three different ways to vote. You can choose the way that suits you. Before the day of the election, known as polling day, you will receive a letter called a poll card. Everyone who is registered to vote in your household will receive their own card. The three different ways to vote are set out below:
- in person at a polling station
- by post
- by proxy (someone voting on your behalf)
These are strict deadlines for postal and proxy vote applications.
Voting in person at the polling place
On polling day you'll need to go to your polling place. You can find out where your polling place is by checking your poll card. It’s usually a public building like a nearby school or village hall. Polling places are open from 7am until 10pm. As long as you’re in the queue to vote by 10pm, you’ll be allowed to vote. You can’t choose which polling place to vote at – you have to go to your own polling place. Your polling place might not be the closest one to your house, so it is important to check. If you’re unsure, contact the elections team on 01757 705101 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be able to help you. Due to COVID-19, there will be safety measures in place at the polling places, to help you stay safe. There will be physical distancing and there may be a limit on how many people are allowed inside the polling place. When you go inside, you will be expected to wear a face covering like you do when you go into shops or on public transport. The polling place staff will be behind protective screens, like staff in shops, but you’ll still be able to ask them for help if you need it.
If you know that you won’t be able to get to your polling place on polling day, you might want to consider a postal vote. You need to register for a postal vote with your electoral registration office no later than 11 days before polling day (5pm 20 April 2021), but the sooner the better. You can download an application form here. Or, you can ask your electoral registration office to send one to you by email or post. You will need to give your signature and date of birth on your application form, and again when you vote. This is to confirm who you are. A postal vote pack will be sent to you before the election. Follow the instructions, put everything back in the envelope provided and post it to the council to be counted.
Here are some things to consider if you decide to vote by post:
- a postal vote can be sent to your home address or any other address you choose
- postal votes are usually sent about a week before polling day
- if you have been sent a postal vote, you cannot vote in person at a polling place
If you have received a postal vote, please read the guidance attached to the ballot paper which outlines how to complete your postal vote. A video can also be viewed here which outlines further guidance on how to complete your postal vote correctly. If you are disabled or cannot provide a consistent or distinctive signature, we may grant you an exemption. Please contact us for more information. You can learn more about postal votes on GOV.UK and on the Electoral Commission websites.
Apply to vote by proxy - someone else voting on your behalf
You can also ask someone you trust to vote on your behalf. This is called a proxy vote and your trusted person is called your proxy. You need to tell your proxy who you’d like to vote for and they need to go to your polling place to vote for you. This may be different from their own. If you choose to vote by proxy, you need to register for this no later than six days before polling day. You can download an application form here, or you can ask your electoral registration office to send one to you by email or post. If you change your mind and want to vote in person, you can still do so, as long as your proxy has not already voted on your behalf. If your proxy can’t get to the polling place, they can apply to vote for you by post. This is called a postal proxy.