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How to...vote in the General Election

Monday 8 May 2017 NUS News

There’s plenty at stake during the election on 8 June: the shape of Brexit, the nature of the economy and the future of education. With just a month until polling day, the outcome could be in students’ hands.

But for those who haven’t voted before, it can be hard to know where to begin.

Get registered!

First things first. In order to take part in the general election you need to be registered to vote. Usually, this takes just five minutes.

In order to vote in the General Election, you need to be registered by Monday 22 May.

When registering online you’ll be asked for your name, nationality, address, whether you’ve recently moved house, and for your National Insurance Number.

You’ll usually be able to find your National Insurance Number on your student loan letters, payslips or other official documents. If you don’t have it you can still register to vote, BUT you will need to explain why you don’t have it and you’ll need to send copies of your ID through the post, which will take much longer. If you haven't got your NI number you can find it here.

Electoral register vs Open register

You’ll be asked whether you want to include your name on the ‘open register’, which can be bought by any person or organisation and is usually used to confirm name and address details. If you only want to be included on the electoral register and not the open register that’s fine, it won’t affect your ability to vote.

Term-time vs home address

Students are allowed to register at two addresses. If you don’t know where you’ll be on 8 June, simply register at both.

Students have been registering to vote in huge numbers, so what are you waiting for….

 Register to vote 

Postal vote

If you’re not able to vote in person on the day then you can apply to vote by post. Anyone can do this and you don’t have to give a reason for doing so.

Your local Electoral Registration Office will need to receive your application for a postal vote by 23 May. You can apply here.

Your ballot paper will be sent out to you after 23 May, and you will need to complete them and send them back so it arrives before 10pm on 8 June. If it arrives after that time it will not be counted.

Proxy Vote

You can also register for a 'proxy vote' which means that you can nominate someone to vote on your behalf.

If you want to do a  proxy vote make sure you apply by 5pm on 31 May. Depending on your reason for being unable to vote in person there will be different forms, which you can find  here. You'll have to complete the right form and send it off to your local Electoral Registration Office.

Your candidates

Chances are you’ll receive information about your local candidates during the campaign, but once all candidates are declared on 11 May you’ll be able to find out who’s standing here.

Where to go on the day

A polling card will be sent out to your registered address before Election Day and will include details of where your polling station is. You should also be able to find out where your polling station is at www.yourvotematters.co.uk.

You’ll need to go to your polling station between 7am and 10pm on 8 June to vote.

There have been examples of long queues at polling stations on Election Day, so we’d recommend going early on in the day if you can. But don’t worry - as long as you are in the queue before 10pm then they have to accept your vote.

When is the election?

THURSDAY 8 JUNE 2017

GenerationVote 2017