Your guide to registering to vote

You must register by 11.59pm on November 26 to be eligible to vote in the general election on December 12. Whether you'll be abroad, at work or in the country, here's how to do it

HAVE YOUR SAY: You must be on the electoral register to vote on December 12

THERE’S LESS than a week to go until the voter registration deadline for the general election. If you don’t register by 11.59pm November 26, you won’t be able to cast your vote in the general election on December 12.

Even if you’re not sure who to vote for at this stage, it’s still worth registering as once the deadline to do so has passed, you won’t be able to have your say.

Am I eligible to vote in the general election?

As long as you are:

  • 18 years old or over on the day of the election 
  • A British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen
  • A resident at an address in the UK (or a British citizen living abroad who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years).
  • Not legally excluded from voting
  • And, importantly, registered – you can vote

How do I register to vote?

Registering to vote is quick and easy and you only need to do it once unless you’ve changed your name, address or nationality since you last registered.

Head to www.gov.uk/registertovote to do it now. It should take around only five minutes.

If you want to register using a paper form, you can do that too, by clicking here or contacting your electoral registration office and asking them to post a paper form out to you. 

What should I do if I’m a student?

If you’re a student, you can register to vote at both your university address and your home address. While you’ll have two choices on where to cast your vote, you’ll only be permitted to vote once.

Some students make the decision to vote in one of the two locations based on tactical voting predictions, but some argue that the popularity of tactical voting on both sides could mean tactical voting is rendered obsolete.

If you have the slightest uncertainty over whether you will be at home or at university on polling day, it’s worth registering to vote in both locations so you don’t miss out.

I have no fixed address. Can I still register to vote?

Yes, you can. If you’re homeless or have no fixed address, have been remanded in custody but not yet convicted of an offence or are a patient in a mental health hospital, you can still register to vote. 

You will need to provide an address where you would be living if it were not for your current situation or an address that you’ve lived at previously. If you’re homeless, you can provide details of where you spend a significant amount of your time.

You will need to complete a separate electoral registration form and send it to your electoral registration officer. All the necessary details can be found here

What if I want to register anonymously?

If you’re concerned about safety or the safety of someone in your household, you can register anonymously, which means that your name and address will not appear on the electoral register.

To do so, you will need to complete an application and provide supporting evidence.

I won’t be able to vote in person on the day. What should I do?

If for whatever reason you can’t cast your vote in person on December 12, you can still have your say by voting by post or to vote by proxy. However, you must register to cast your vote this way in advance of polling day.  

Regardless of if you’re voting by post or by proxy, you will still need to be registered to vote by November 26.

Have someone vote on your behalf

A proxy vote means someone will vote on your behalf. This person must be on the electoral register and eligible to vote in the general election.

You can apply to vote by proxy under a number of circumstances, for example, if you will be away on polling day, have a medical issue or disability, will be at work or serving in the military.

To apply to vote by proxy, complete this paper form and return it to your electoral registration office by 5pm on December 4 if your vote will be cast in England, Scotland or Wales. If your vote will be cast in Northern Ireland, you will need to complete a separate form and return it by 5pm on November 21.

Send in your ballot by post

To vote by post you will need to apply for a postal vote by 26 November. You will be sent a postal voting pack which must arrive back at your electoral registration office in the UK by 10pm on December 12. If you leave it too late to post your ballot paper, you can take it in person to your local polling station by 10pm or to your electoral registration office before they close.

You don’t need to provide a reason for why you require a postal vote unless you are voting in Northern Ireland where you will have to complete and return a separate form by November 21.

What if I live outside of the UK?

If you’re living abroad, you can still register to vote as long as you are a British citizen, you’ve left the UK within the last 15 years and were previously registered at an address in England, Scotland or Wales. You will need to provide your passport details.

It’s recommended that you vote by proxy if you live outside the UK as postal voting packs can take time to receive and return.

How do I check if I’m registered to vote or not?

Not sure if you’re already registered? No problem – just contact your local electoral registration office to find out. 

You can find out how to contact them here.

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