Voting FAQs for students
By Lily Owen
Am I registered to vote?
Voter registration is not currently automatic and so, if you have never applied to register, then you won’t be. You can register to vote online at: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
All you need is your National Insurance number, date of birth and current address. It takes 5 minutes!
If you haven’t changed your details since you last voted, then they will be the same and possibly need updating for the next one.
You can check your registration status by contacting your local registration office. Contact details can be found at: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/your-election-information
I am a first time voter. How does it work?
A few weeks before an election you should receive a polling card through your letterbox that confirms that you are registered and the details of the upcoming election e.g. date, voting hours and the location of your local polling station. If you have not received your polling card, you should contact your local registration office. You can still vote if you have lost it, but if you do not receive it, you may not be registered.
You must only vote at the polling station named on your card, as you are on their Register of Electors and will not be listed anywhere else.
Give your name and address to the volunteers at your station and you will be ticked off, handed a ballot paper and directed to a voting booth for privacy. The ballot contains a list of people, parties, or options to vote for and you follow the instructions at the top, whether this is to cross one box, or mark an order of preference, such as 1-4 etc. This is then folded up and placed in the ballot box to cast your vote.
I am a student living in Leeds, should I register to vote here or at home?
Students can be registered at two addresses:
(As long as your university address is in a different local authority area i.e. you don’t also live in Leeds)
For parliamentary elections, you must vote from only one address. For example, if you are a Labour voter, you may choose to vote in your home constituency, where there is greater competition with opposing parties because in Leeds, Labour is a more solid seat. It is up to you where you think your vote will be cast best.
For local elections, you can have a say at both.
I have moved house this year. Do I need to re-register at my new address?
Every time you change address you should re-register to update your details.
As students, usually with new accommodation each year, the University of Leeds anticipates this change. Whenever you register for university each year on Minerva, there is a box to tick that asks if you would like to be automatically registered to vote at your new address and then asks you to fill out the new information. Leeds then passes this on for you to help make this process easier.
I do not have a fixed address. Can I still register?
Lots of people may not have a permanent address, such as a hospital patient, homeless person, a person residing in custody, living at sea, or part of the Romani or travelling community.
You can register at an address where you spend a substantial part of your time, or have a connection to e.g. a previous address or shelter. This can be done by filling in a ‘Declaration of local connection’ form found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/register-to-vote-paper-forms
I want to vote in the next election, but I will not be in my constituency. How do I still vote?
You can apply to vote either by post or by proxy.
A postal vote is where your local council will send you the ballot paper by Royal Mail around two weeks before the actual election. You can complete this early and, as long as it is returned before the day of election, your vote will count.
A proxy vote is where you can arrange for a relative or friend to vote for you on your behalf. They will receive a special polling card to take to your local polling station and vote for you.
Postal applications must be received by your local council no later than 12 working days before the election and no later than 6 working days for a proxy!
Can anyone not vote?
Members of the House of Lords
Anybody found guilty of electoral fraud within the past 5 years
People with any ‘legal incapacity’ which impairs their judgement