Guidance for (Acting) Returning Officers administering a UK Parliamentary election in Great Britain

Information for voters

Polling station notices

You must produce and display the ‘Guidance for voters’ notice and the ‘Instructions for voters’ notice. The contents and display requirements of these notices are prescribed in legislation.1  

The ‘Guidance for voters’ notice is required by law to be printed in conspicuous characters and exhibited inside and outside of the polling station.2 The ‘Instructions for voters’ notice is required by law to be exhibited in every polling booth.3  

Use of English or Welsh in polling stations

When you brief polling station staff, you should make clear that only English (or in Wales, English or Welsh) should be used when assisting or giving instructions to electors in polling stations. This ensures transparency in proceedings, and enables any observers or polling agents present in the polling station to monitor the voting process. 

Some voters may need assistance in another language because of their limited English (or English or Welsh) language skills. You should consider what support you are able to provide to those voters in your area, such as providing translations of the polling station notices. 

In some exceptional cases the translated notices may not be sufficient or appropriate. For example, a voter may have low levels of literacy or may have a question that falls outside of what is covered by the notices. In those circumstances, polling station staff may provide assistance in a language other than English or Welsh if they can. 

Where assistance is given in another language, polling station staff should explain to other staff and any polling agents or observers present what question has been asked and the response given. 

You should remind polling station staff to contact the RO (or ERO if applicable) if they have any queries from electors that they are unable to deal with.

Last updated: 19 December 2023