Make sure you're registered

Make sure you're registered

To vote in any election in the UK, you must be registered to vote.

Find out if you're eligible to register and how to apply

Voting in Northern Ireland

Take ID in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, you will need to take a correct form of photo ID with you to your polling station. You won't be able to vote without it.

The only acceptable forms of ID are:

  • a UK or Irish passport
  • a UK, Irish or EEA driving licence
  • a Translink 60+ Smartpass
  • a Translink Senior Smartpass
  • a Translink Blind Person's Smartpass
  • a Translink War Disabled Smartpass
  • an Electoral Identity Card

The ID can be expired, but staff at the polling station must be satisfied that you are the person in the photograph on the ID.

Find out more about applying for an electoral ID card or call 0800 4320 712.

Polling station opening times

Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm on polling day. They can get very busy, particularly towards the end of the day.

If you need help getting to your polling station, you can contact your local council.



You might see people waiting outside the polling station who ask you for the number on your polling card.

These people are called 'tellers', and are volunteering on behalf of candidates. They use the information people give them to check who has voted, and remind people who haven't to do so.

They are allowed to be there and to ask for the information, but you don't have to give them any information if you don't want to.

If you are concerned about the conduct of a teller, speak to a member of staff at the polling station.

Campaigning on polling day

There are no rules to prevent campaigning on polling day, but campaigning should not take place within the polling station itself. Also, campaigners must not obstruct the polling station or prevent voters from entering. It is an offence to influence someone to vote a certain way by intimidating them or using undue influence. 

If you are concerned about something, contact the local Returning Officer in the first instance. If you have evidence that an electoral offence has been committed, you should report it to the police immediately. 

Voting in a polling station

Get your ballot paper

When you arrive at the polling station, you will need to give your name to the poll clerk behind the desk. If you have your poll card with you, show them this and it will help speed up the process.

The staff will then give you a ballot paper listing the candidates you can vote for. You might be given more than one ballot paper if there is more than one election taking place in your local area on the same day.

Take your ballot paper (or papers) into a polling booth so that no one can see how you vote.

Read the instructions carefully

Read each ballot paper carefully. Different elections might use different electoral systems, so it's important to make sure you know how to fill it in correctly. Some elections ask for one cross in one box. Others might ask you to rank candidates with numbers.

Complete your ballot paper

Complete the ballot paper in line with the instructions. There will be a pencil in the polling booth, but you can use your own pen if you prefer.

Don't write anything else on the paper, or your vote may not be counted.

If you make a mistake, don't worry – as long as you haven't already put it in the ballot box, just let the polling station staff know and they can give you a replacement ballot paper.

Once you're done, put your completed ballot paper in the ballot box.

Asking for help to cast your vote

Asking for help

If you're not sure what to do, or need any help, just ask the staff at the polling station – they will be happy to assist you to cast your vote.

If you have a disability which means you can't fill in the ballot paper yourself, you can ask the Presiding Officer to mark the ballot paper for you.

If you have a visual impairment, you can ask for a large print ballot paper, or a special voting device, to help you cast your vote.

Taking photos

Taking photos inside the polling station isn't allowed as it might risk the secrecy of the ballot.

You are more than welcome to take photos outside the polling station, and share them on social media to encourage your friends and family to vote.

You have to go to your polling station

You have to go to the polling station for the address you're registered to vote at. You can't go to one near where you work, for example.

Last updated: 24 February 2020
Next review: 11 September 2020