Get election ready by registering to vote

If you have been closely (or remotely) following the Brexit debate in Parliament, you will know that a general election could be just around the corner. Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to present a motion to MPs on Monday 28th October which may include the prospect of an election on Thursday 12th December (ie just before the end of term).

Read on for our ‘how to’ get election ready and what your options are………

Who can vote in a general election?

In short, you must:

  • be registered to vote
  • be 18 or over on the day of the election (‘polling day’)
  • be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen
  • be resident at an address in the UK
  • not be legally excluded from voting

Have I registered already?

Possibly. If you live in Brighton and Hove, Lewes or Eastbourne, you may have registered to vote during the online enrolment process at the start of the academic year, or when you changed your term-time address. It is very easy to check this by searching for your details through the local Electoral Registration Office.

How do you register?

The easiest and quickest way to register to vote, see if you are already registered or change your registration details is to check here online.
All you need is your full address and National Insurance number, it only takes a few minutes.

Where should you register?

This is the million dollar question…..if an election is called for 12th December, there are 3 things to consider very carefully:

  1. Where are you going to be on 12th December? Frustratingly it is so near to the end of term you may not yet know if you’ll be at your term time or home address on this date (if these are 2 different places)
  2. If you aren’t sure where you are going to be, but you want to guarantee your vote, think about the postal or proxy vote options
  3. A student who studies away from their home town is able to exercise their right to choose where to register, so think about where you vote might be most effective. You may live in an area which is considered to be a marginal seat, which could influence your decision.

If you go for the postal or proxy option, make sure you have done everything you need to by the deadline stated.

Not voted before? Here’s what happens

You will receive a letter or card delivered to the address where you are registered giving you details of where you need to go to vote, this is your local Polling Station. It is often a public building like a school or library. If you have voted locally before, check the location carefully as it may different to the one you have been to before for a local election. Polling stations are open between 7am – 10pm election day so you have plenty of opportunity to vote in person. You don’t need your registration card but it makes it easier for the volunteers working at the stations on the day. A local candidate or canvasser standing outside may want to ask you questions before or after you enter the station, typically they will only ask you what your voter number is or address. You don’t have to engage with them if you don’t want to.
You will be given a voting slip in exchange for your registration card and you’ll be directed to a confidential area to cast your vote.

We’ll post further information when we know more, but if you have got any questions or comments about the process, please contact Student Advice or BSU

Student Advice Service

Helen is the Student Advice Service Manager within Student Services and is based in Tithe Barn on the Moulsecoomb campus

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