Written by Beatriz Abreu Ferreira
The UK will be holding a general election on the 12th of December, 2019.
At DMU Christmas holidays only officially begin on the 13th of December.
This means that many students won’t be at home in time for the election and will be required to re-register to vote.
Furthermore, different elections have different rules and all the legal and bureaucratic hurdles tend to disproportionately affect young voters, due to lack of information and inexperience.
This is a simple guide to clear all your doubts and help you get to the polls.
Who can vote?
- Every British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen who is 18 years of age (or over) on polling day;
- International students are NOT allowed to vote in the UK;
- EU students are NOT allowed to vote in a Parliamentary Election (As an EU citizen resident in the UK you are ONLY allowed to vote at local government, devolved legislature and European parliamentary elections.)
Where do you vote?
If you go to university in a different local government area from the one where your family live, you may be confused about where you should vote.
During the local government elections, students can vote both at their home and term-time address – if they wish.
However, in a general election, you can ONLY VOTE ONCE. It is a criminal offence to vote twice.
This means you will need to choose where you want to vote. These are your options:
- Register to vote with your term-time address;
- Register (if you are voting for the first time) to vote with your home address;
- Apply to vote by post in England, Scotland or Wales;
- Apply to vote by proxy – this means someone you trust will cast your vote for you;
How do you register?
Registering to vote is really quick and easy. All you need to do is to complete an online form with your name, address and national insurance number (but you can still register if you do not have one).
After you have registered, your name and address will appear on the electoral register.
The whole process will not take longer than 5 minutes. Make sure you register before 11:59pm on 26 November.
You only need to register once – or if you have changed your name, address or nationality since the last time you voted.
If you are not sure where you are registered to vote, you need to contact your local Electoral Registration Office.
How do you apply for postal vote?
Once you have completed the form and made sure you have signed it, you need to send it to the electoral services team at your local council by post. Some councils accept a scanned copy of your form by email, but you should check with them first.
How do you apply for a proxy vote?
To apply for a proxy vote you are required to explain the reason why you cannot get to your polling station in person.
Whether or not your reason is accepted will vary depending on the type of proxy vote you apply for; when you apply; where in the UK you are registered to vote.
You can download the application form for all types of proxy vote: