General Election guide

A quick general election guide to help you understand how you can take part!

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The next UK General Election will be held on the 4th of July. This can be a bit of a confusing time for students. So, we’ve pulled together a handy guide that will hopefully answer all your questions (and more!).

 

Don’t miss a deadline!

  • 18th June Deadline to register to vote
  • 19th June Deadline for postal vote applications
  • 20th June Last day to get your free photo ID from CitizenCard
  • 26th June Deadline for proxy vote applications
  • 4th July Polling Day

 

First things first, what does a General Election look like in the UK?

The general election is to elect Members of Parliament - or MPs - to the House of Commons in London.

The UK is divided into 650 areas, called constituencies, and each of these elects one MP to represent local residents at Westminster.

Most candidates represent a political party, but some stand as independents.

How does the voting work?

In a general election, each person has one vote.

On election day, registered voters in each constituency vote for their preferred candidate in their local polling station. Some people vote by post in advance.

Under a system called "first past the post", the candidate who gets the most votes becomes the MP for that area.

 

Brilliant, how do I vote?

If this is your first time voting in the UK/ or if you have changed addresses since the last time you voted, then you’ll need to register to vote by the 18th of June.

Register to vote here.

 

I’m an International student, does any of this apply to me?

Yes, residents from specific countries and areas not in the UK can actually vote in the General Election. Students from Commonwealth countries, British Overseas Territories, and the Republic of Ireland can all vote in all UK elections. If this is you, you can just register to vote as usual.

If you’re still unsure, you can see if you are eligible to vote here.

 

I live across two addresses, what should I do?

Students change addresses a lot more than usual. This can be between living with parents in the summer, then in halls or a place in town during the academic year. You may also have changed addresses during an academic year. You are allowed to be registered to vote in two different places, as long as you only cast a vote in one. Whatever address you will be living at on 4th July, make sure you’re registered to vote there!

 

Help! I’m out of the country on the 4th of July!

Don’t go cancelling your holiday plans, there are a couple of different ways around it! After you have registered to vote:

 

Okay, that’s me registered to vote at my current address, what’s next?

  • You’ll need a valid form of Photo ID. Polling stations in the UK now require everyone to bring a photo ID. You can find the full list of accepted types of ID here. If you have an accepted form of Photo ID, but it is out of date you can still use this, as long as it still looks like you!
  • If you don’t have the required Photo ID. You can get your Free CitizenCard today with code NUS. Get one here (The last day to get your free Voter ID is the 20th of June).

 

So, let's Recap…

  • Make sure you’re registered to vote by 18th June
  • Apply for a postal vote or a Proxy vote before the deadline, if required.
  • Make sure you have an accepted form of Photo ID
  • Vote at your polling station on the 4th of July

 

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