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How to vote

Contents

  1. At a polling station
  2. By post
  3. Ask someone else to vote on your behalf (proxy vote)
  4. Easy read information for voters with a learning disability
  5. Voting fraud

At a polling station

The polling station is the place where you go to vote. It could be a school, hall, community centre or a portable cabin. Find your polling station.

If you are registered to vote at a polling station, you will get a poll card about five weeks before an election. The poll card tells you when the election is, and where your polling station is.

Marking your ballot paper - pencils or pens?

Ballot papers can be marked with a pencil or pen.

Pencils are usually provided inside polling stations for practical reasons, including:

  • ink pens may dry out or spill
  • when the voter folds the ballot paper, ink may transfer to elsewhere on the ballot paper - this could cause the vote to be rejected (for example, if it looks like they have voted for more candidates than allowed)

Pens are available from the Presiding Officer in the polling station, or you can bring your own pen with you.

There is legislation to prevent and detect tampering with ballot papers:

  • seals must be attached to ballot boxes
  • candidates and agents can be present at the close of poll and can attach their own seals if they wish
  • at the count, candidates and agents can check their seals before the ballot boxes are opened

By post

If you have applied to vote by post, you will get a postal poll card about five weeks before an election. You will then get your postal voting pack about two weeks before election day.

  1. When you get your postal vote, remove the contents from the outer envelope. The envelope will contain:
    • two ballot papers, one white and one coloured
    • a postal voting statement, with the ballot paper envelope A attached
    • a return envelope marked B
  2. On the postal voting statement, fill in your date of birth and signature (this is to prevent fraud - you have already given these when you completed your postal application form)
  3. Read the instructions on the top of both ballot papers and mark a cross against the candidate or candidates you wish to vote for (with a pen or pencil)
  4. Fold both ballot papers and put them into envelope A
  5. Moisten the purple strip and seal the envelope, with the postal voting statement still attached
  6. Put the ballot paper envelope and postal voting statement into the return envelope B

Post your postal voting pack as soon as possible, by Wednesday 5 May.  

To find a priority post box, visit Royal Mail: Services near you.

You can also hand in a postal vote at a polling station on election day. Give it to the poll marshal at the entrance. You don't need to queue, or enter the station.

Watch our video on how to vote by post:

Ask someone else to vote on your behalf (proxy vote)

If you're unable to vote in person you can ask someone to vote on your behalf. This is called a proxy vote.

Return your application form to the Elections Office by either:

  • Post: Elections Office, South Tyneside Council, Town Hall, Westoe Road, South Shields, NE33 2RL
  • Email a scanned copy to: elections@southtyneside.gov.uk

For the elections on 6 May 2021, completed application forms must be returned to the Elections Office by 5pm on Tuesday 27 April to be able to appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf.

For more information visit GOV.UK: Apply to vote by proxy.

Easy read information for voters with a learning disability 

Mencap has created easy to read guides and videos to help voters with a learning disability understand how to vote.

See Easy read guide and videos for voters with a learning disability

United Response, a charity that provides support to people with learning disabilities, autism and mental health needs have produced a website explaining how to vote and information for electors and candidates.

See Every Vote Counts

Voting fraud

Your vote doesn't belong to anyone who intimidates you, pretends to be you, tries to bribe you, or enter the polling booth with you.

It's yours, and yours alone. If someone tries to take your vote, or the vote of anyone you know, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit:

Crimestoppers: Your vote is yours alone

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