FAQs - frequently asked questions
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Frequently Asked Questions
Voting - FAQs
How do I find out where my polling station is?
A poll card should be delivered to you before polling day with the address of your polling station. Alternatively, contact Electoral Services to find out.
Why haven’t I received my poll card?
Poll cards are delivered two or three weeks before an election. You can still vote even if you do not have a poll card, as long as you are on the electoral register. You should check with Electoral Services whether you are on the electoral register and report the fact that you have not received your poll card.
Why should I vote?
Voting in Local, Parliamentary and European elections provides you with an opportunity to influence the UK democratic process through choosing your leaders or representatives; who then might reflect your views in policy 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.
You might think that your vote does not matter, but every vote counts equally, and there have been many elections which have been decided by less than 100 votes.
It is the first time I am going to vote, how do I do it?
The Electoral Commission has produced a very good leaflet called Easy Guide to Voting that will help you with the process and what to expect when you turn up at the polling station. The polling station staff will also be happy to help you.
I’m a student, where can I vote?
Students can register at home and at their term-time address. But you are not allowed to vote twice in a Parliamentary Election, so you would need to choose which address to vote from. See our student information page for more information.
Can British citizens living abroad vote?
British citizens living abroad can vote in UK parliamentary and European parliamentary elections but can not vote in local elections.
British citizens living abroad for more than 15 years are not eligible to register to vote in UK elections. Find more information and download an application form from www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.
Can members of the armed forces vote?
Members of the Armed Forces (and their spouse or partner) can register as Service Voters, and may vote by post or proxy. Find more information and download an application form from www.aboutmyvote.co.uk
What about crown servants and British Council employees, living and working overseas?
People who are working overseas, for example in a British Embassy, Consulate or the British Council, may register as a Crown Servant. Find more information and download an application form from www.aboutmyvote.co.uk
For more information visit our voting page
I will be overseas temporarily on the day of the election. How can I vote?
If you are overseas on election day, you can apply to vote either by post or by proxy (to have someone else vote for you). Find out more on our postal and proxy voting page.
What is the timetable for postal and proxy voting at the Police and Crime Commissioner elections on 15 November 2012?
The deadline for applying for a postal vote is 5pm on 31 October 2012. This is also the deadline for cancelling or amending an existing postal vote.
Postal votes will be sent to voters on around 5 November 2012, and must be returned to the Returning Officer by 15 November 2012.
The deadline for applying for a proxy vote is 5pm on 7 November 2012. In the case of an unforeseen medical emergency, the deadline for proxy applications may be extended to 5pm on 15 November 2012.
Who can apply for a postal vote?
Anyone who is registered to vote.
I don't want a postal vote anymore, how do I cancel it?
You must cancel this in writing, and may use a postal vote cancellation or amendment form. The deadline for cancelling a postal vote for the election on 15 November 2012 is 31 October 2012.
Why do I need to give my date of birth and signature to get a postal or proxy vote?
The Electoral Administration Act 2006 introduced new measures to improve the security of postal and proxy votes, and now all postal and proxy voters are required to 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.
How secure is a postal vote?
It is an offence to complete a postal vote that is not your own, and to influence how others complete their postal vote. If you have any allegations of fraud, they should be referred to the police.
Why haven’t I received my postal ballot paper?
You should receive your postal ballot paper about one week before the election. If it doesn’t arrive, you can apply for a replacement in person from Electoral Services at Brighton Town Hall up until 5pm on election day. You will need to provide proof of identity.
I’ve spoiled my ballot paper / postal voting statement. What should I do?
You can apply for a replacement up until 5pm on election day, in person from Electoral Services at Brighton Town Hall. You will also need to return your spoilt ballot paper and the other parts of the ballot pack that were sent to you.
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.
Find out more on our postal and proxy voting page.
Who can apply for a proxy vote?
You can apply for a long-term proxy vote if you have a specific reason such as a disability or you work overseas.
To vote by proxy for just one election, you must have a reason, for example, you will be away due to holiday. Find out more on our postal and proxy voting page.
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.
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 11th working day before election day. Contact Electoral Services to find out how to do this.
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.
Find out more on our postal and proxy voting page