Frequently asked questions about voting and elections

How do I find out where my polling station is?

You must vote at the polling station indicated on your poll card. This may not be the closest polling station to your home.

We will publish a list of all polling stations on the web page for the election.

Why haven’t I received my poll card?

You can still vote even if you do not have a poll card.

Staff at the polling station will be able to check if you are on the electoral register and eligible to vote in the election. It is important that you attend the correct polling station.

Do I need to register to vote?

You must be on the electoral register in order to vote in any election. 

Keep your details up to date. Every time you move home, you need to register at your new address. You can register online on the gov.uk website

Previously, one person registered everybody in each home, now each individual has to register separately. If you have never registered to vote individually, you may not be on the register.

To find out if you are on the electoral register contact electors@brighton-hove.gov.uk or call 01273 291999.

If you aren't on the register, you can register online on the gov.uk website

To find out more about registering to vote and information for students or if you are homeless go to our register to vote page.

Why should I vote?

You might think that your vote does not matter, but every vote counts equally. There have been many elections which have been decided by less than 100 votes. Elections in Brighton & Hove are often close.

Voting in elections and referendums provides you with an opportunity to influence the UK democratic process. The people who win the election are there to represent you in policy development and decision making. The ability to vote exists as one of the more cherished rights that many have fought, marched and died for over the centuries. 

It is the first time I am going to vote, how do I do it?

The Electoral Commission has produced a very good Easy Guide to Voting leaflet that will help you with the process and what to expect when you turn up at the polling station. Download the easy read guide to voting (PDF 8.8MB).

Polling station staff will also be happy to help you. 

Who can apply for a postal vote?

Find out more about how to apply for a postal vote.

When do I receive my postal vote?

Your postal vote is sent to your home address usually at least a week before the election.

This should give you enough time to fill out your ballot paper and return it by post to our office before the close of poll on election day.

Your postal vote may be sent to an overseas address, but we do not recommend this as there is very little time for you to receive and return the ballot paper in time for polling day.

If you live outside of the UK or you are going to be away for more than a week before the election you may prefer to appoint a proxy.

I’ve spoiled my postal vote ballot paper or postal voting statement. What should I do?

If you have a problem with your postal vote you can apply for a replacement postal voting pack up until 5pm on election day.

You need to apply in person by going to our Electoral Services office at Brighton Town Hall.  You will need bring us your spoilt ballot paper and the other parts of the ballot pack that were sent to you.

How do I send back my postal vote?

Your postal vote must reach us by election day to be included in the count.

Please return your postal vote as soon as you can in the envelopes provided. Post it to us in a Royal Mail post box. You don't need a stamp. Alternatively you can return your postal vote

  • Before election day - by hand to Brighton Town Hall or Hove Town Hall.
  • On election day - by hand to a polling station within the appropriate electoral area, before 10pm or to Brighton Town Hall before 5pm.

Why do I need to give my date of birth and signature to get a postal or proxy vote?

Postal and proxy voters must give their date of birth and signature when applying for a postal or proxy vote. Your signature and date of birth are separated from your ballot paper before being checked. Giving this information will not affect the secrecy of your vote. This requirement was introduced by the Electoral Administration Act 2006 to improve the security of postal and proxy votes. 

If I have applied for a postal vote, can I still vote at the polling station?

If you have applied to vote by post, you cannot vote in person at the polling station. However, on election day you can return your postal vote to a polling station for your electoral area (before 10pm) or to the Electoral Services office at Brighton Town Hall.

When would I need a proxy vote?

If you are unable to get to the polling station on election day, because of ill-health or you are away you can apply for a proxy vote. A proxy vote is when you appoint somebody to vote for you.

Who can be my proxy?

Anyone who is eligible to vote in the election themselves can be your proxy. However, you can only be a proxy for up to two people who are not members of your immediate family. They will be sent details on where to vote on your behalf a week or two before the day of the election.

What happens after I’ve applied for a proxy vote?

Your proxy must go to your local polling station to vote. They will be sent a proxy poll card telling them where and when to vote. You must let your proxy know how you want them to vote on your behalf, for example, which candidate or which party. If you are able to go to the polling station yourself after all, you can still vote in person as long as your proxy has not already done so.

I’ve been made a proxy for someone. What do I need to do?

You will be sent a proxy poll card with details of where you should vote. If you can’t attend the polling station you can vote by post. You must apply for this before 5pm on the eleventh working day before Election Day.

Can I still vote in person if I have a proxy set up and can make it to my polling station?

You are still able to cast your own vote as long as your proxy has not voted already. If your proxy goes to the polling station after you, he or she will not be allowed to cast your vote again.

Can I have a permanent proxy?

Permanent proxy voting is only available to certain people on the grounds of health, employment or full time education commitments.

When would I need a postal proxy vote?

If your proxy cannot attend your polling station in person for any reason on the day of the election, they can apply to vote by post.

What help is available for disabled voters?

You can find out more on our help for disabled voters page. If you need more information about access at a particular polling place or have any other queries, please contact Electoral Services on 01273 291999 or email electors@brighton-hove.gov.uk

Am I automatically registered on the electoral roll if I pay council tax?

There is no automatic registration, even if people pay council tax. To register to vote, you need to complete a voter registration form or register online at: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Can someone find me on the electoral roll if they only have my name?

No, the electoral register is not compiled in name order. There are 21 wards in the city and each of these is sub-divided into polling districts. Electors are listed by alphabetical street order within each polling district.

Your postal vote must reach us by election day to be included in the count.