Thursday, May 5, 2022

Polling station hours explained today and how to find out where to vote

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Polling stations across the UK close at 10pm on Thursday 5 May but you can vote if you queue by then

Thousands of local council seats are up for election in England, Scotland and Wales, while in Northern Ireland voters decide the composition of the Stormont Assembly.

Millions of voters across the UK are expected to cast their ballots in a series of elections today.

Though the nation has taken part in a variety of local polls over the past year, it could be a while for many people since they cast a ballot or voted for the first time.

Here’s when to show up at your polling station on Thursday and everything you need to know about voting.

Polling stations across the UK are open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday 5 May.

However, you are still allowed to vote in the elections as long as you join the queue before closing.

Polling stations tend to be busiest before school and after work, so take this into account when planning your trip.

The majority of eligible voters in the UK will cast their vote at a polling station and the deadlines for absentee voting and proxy voting have passed – although certain people may be entitled to emergency voting.

If you were unable to send your absentee vote in time, you can cast your absentee ballot by 10pm on election day either at your polling station or at your local elections office (which you can find here).

The location of your polling station will be indicated on the polling card sent to you in the mail – it will likely be a public building such as a school or community center near your address.

If you have misplaced your card or have not received it, you can check on the Electoral Commission’s website by entering your postcode here.

If the details of your polling location are not included, the website will have the local government contacts for you to verify.

You don’t need to take your polling card to the polling station to vote anywhere in the UK.

While you don’t need to show ID in England, Wales or Scotland, you do need to bring photo ID with you in Northern Ireland.

This can be a passport, driving licence, voter ID or certain types of Translink Smartpass – see all the details here.

Once you arrive at your polling station, you will be given a ballot (or more if you are voting in multiple elections) listing the parties and candidates you can vote for.

Read them carefully, then cast your vote using one of the pens provided (you can bring your own pen or pencil if you wish) before folding your ballot in half and dropping it in the ballot box.

If you make a mistake, you can ask for a new ballot (if you haven’t already put it in the ballot box) – a member of staff will be happy to help you.

If you’re not sure what’s going on in your area, you can visit Democracy Club’s online Who to Vote checker.

There you can enter your zip code and find out which elections are taking place in your area on May 5th or whether there are no elections there this year.

With so many elections, there are of course many thousands of candidates to choose from.

Fortunately, the practical “Who can I vote for?” The tool also gives you details of any elections taking place near you.

Clicking on each candidate’s name will also take you to their profile page, which may contain useful information such as contact details and social media channels to help you with your decision.

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