Headway UK has produced a briefing document to inform volunteers and members of Headway about what needs to be done to ensure that they don’t miss out on the chance to take part in the upcoming General Election. This is a guide about the practicalities of voting and is NOT about choosing which candidate/party to support. The parts of the document that are relevant to the Headway North Cumbria membership and their carers/supporters, are reproduced below:
To vote in UK elections and referendums, you need to be registered to vote. Once you are registered there are alternatives to having to travel to your polling station on polling day. As long as you make the appropriate arrangements, you can vote by post or ask someone else to cast your vote for you (voting by proxy). This briefing explains how to make sure you are registered to vote and how to cast your vote.
ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE?
The electoral register, or electoral roll, is administered by your local council. Follow this link – local Electoral Registration Office – and enter your post code to find out which local council looks after the electoral register in your area. Your council should be able to tell you if you are already registered to vote. If you are not, you will need to register to be able to vote in any elections.
To vote in the General Election being held on 12 December 2019, the last date for new voter registration is 1700 on TUESDAY 26 NOVEMBER 2019.
HAVE YOU MOVED HOUSE SINCE THE LAST ELECTION?
You can check that you are registered at your current address by following the process above and contacting your local council.
The deadline for changing your address on the electoral register, for the General Election on 12 December 2019, is 1700 on Tuesday 26 November 2019.
If polling day arrives and you are still registered at your old address, you can vote at the polling station for that address.
VOTING IN PERSON
You can vote in person at the polling station for your home address between 0700-2200 on polling day.
You should be sent a polling card a couple of weeks before the election telling you your polling number and the address of your allocated polling station. It might not be the nearest one to your house as the allocation depends on polling districts.
If you don’t receive a polling card, you should check with your council that you are on the electoral register (see above).
To vote, go to the polling station. You can take your polling card with you, but you do not need to take your polling card in order to vote.
You will be asked for your name and address and your details will be checked against the electoral register, you will then be given a ballot paper so you can vote. The staff in the polling station will be able to help if you have any questions.
Accessibility of Polling Stations
Polling stations are public places and should be fully accessible in line with the Equality Act 2010. If you have any problems with accessibility at the polling station please ask to speak to the Presiding Officer. The staff should all be able to help you vote, while maintaining dignity and ensuring the secrecy of the ballot.
If you have any questions about accessibility at your local polling station before polling day, contact your local council – or, alternatively, think about applying to vote by post.
VOTING BY POST
Voting by post is quick and easy. It’s very useful if you have mobility issues, may be away from home for work or medical reasons, have caring responsibilities or simply prefer it. You can apply for a postal vote for a specific election or for all elections until further notice. You do not have to give a reason for requesting a postal vote.
If you have requested a postal vote, a ballot pack will be sent to you ahead of the election. To vote, follow the instructions on the form and put your completed ballot pack back in the post. If you forget to return it, you can still hand completed ballot vote packs in at your local polling station up to 10pm on Polling Day. You can also hand it in at your council’s head office during the day but be aware they may not be open to accept votes after 1700.
Follow this link – local Electoral Registration Office – and enter your post code to find out which local council looks after the electoral register in your area. A link will take you through to the elections department at your local council – look for the “Apply for a Postal Vote” (or similar) link there. Download the form, print it off, fill it in and post to your local council.
The deadline for applying for a postal vote for the General Election on 12 December 2019 is 1700 on Tuesday 26 November 2019.
ASKING SOMEONE ELSE TO CAST YOUR VOTE – PROXY VOTING
If you’re unable to vote in person you can ask someone to vote on your behalf. This is called a proxy vote. You can only apply for a proxy vote under certain circumstances, including:
- being away on polling day
- having a medical issue or disability
- not being able to vote in person because of work or military service
You can download a proxy vote application form from the local council website or at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/proxy-voting-application-forms
Download the form, print it off, fill it in and post to your local council.
For the General Election on 12 December 2019, the deadline for applications to vote by proxy is 1700 on Wednesday 4 December 2019.
The full Headway UK guidance can be found here