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Local, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Parliament, Police and Crime Commissioners, one by-election and London mayoral elections will all be taking place on Thursday, May 6. These elections see about 48million people eligible to vote following a year’s delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year. As a result of this postponement, there will be a number more positions contested in 2021, the largest since the local Government reorganisation was put in place in 1973. With more than 5,000 positions of power up for grabs, it’s essential for as many people as possible to vote on Thursday.
Who is eligible to vote in a UK election?
To vote in a UK local election, a person has to be registered to vote, as well as be:
18 or over (16 in Scotland and Wales)
Be a British citizen, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the European Union
Be resident in the UK
Not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote
Registration to vote in these elections closed in April, and if you haven’t received confirmation of your registration at some point then you won’t be able to vote.
If you’ve registered for a previous election then you don’t have to register to vote, but if you’ve moved house or changed your details since your last vote you’ll have to update your details first.
The following cannot vote in a British election:
Anyone who isn’t British, from a qualifying commonwealth country or EU citizen
Convicted people detained in pursuance of their sentences
Anyone found guilty within the previous five years of corrupt or illegal practices in connection with an election
Prisoners who are on remand, un-convicted prisoners and civil prisoners can all vote if they are on the electoral register.
Although peers from the House of Lords can’t vote in general elections, they’re allowed to cast a ballot in elections regarding local authority, devolved legislatures and the European Parliament.
How do I vote?
You can vote in person at your local polling station on May 6, or if you can’t on the day you can vote by proxy or mail.
If you want to vote in person, you can’t just turn up at any polling station – you have to go to the one you’ve been assigned.
Your polling card, which you will have received through the post, is the easiest way to find out where you’re registered to vote.
If you’re completing a postal vote, it needs to be with your local council by 10pm on May 6, either by post or you can drop it off in person if you missed the mail.
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Where is my polling station?
If you haven’t received a polling card through the post, you can find out where you should be voting by giving your local council a quick ring.
Alternatively, you can find your polling station by using this postcode tracker tool at Where Do I Vote.
You don’t need to take your polling card with you when you go to vote on Thursday.
If you’re registered to vote but don’t have your card to hand, you can head to the polling station on Election Day and provide them with your name and address.
In England, Wales and Scotland you don’t need to take any identification, but in Northern Ireland you must have photo ID to vote.
When you get to the polling station, there will be a limit to the number of people allowed in to enable social distancing.
Remember to wear your face covering as you’ll need this to enter the polling station and will be expected to wear it throughout.
Some polling stations will supply clean pens and pencils for voters, but just to be safe, you’re advised to take your own with you on the day.
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