Published on

27 March 2024

Elections: Helping residents to be ready for polling day

Local council elections are being held on Thursday 2 May, along with the election for Police and Crime Commissioner

Polling station

Elections are being held on Thursday 2 May and Wokingham Borough Council wants to help residents be as prepared as possible.

This year, there are all-out borough elections, which means all 54 seats on the council are being contested. There is a Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election for the Thames Valley on the same day and there is also the possibility of parish council elections if there are any contested seats in Charvil, Finchampstead, Hurst and Ruscombe parishes.

Poll cards have been dispatched and will be landing on doormats in the coming days.

New electoral boundaries mean some residents will be voting in a different ward to the one they are used to.

The council has also undertaken a review of the polling stations used in the borough to ensure they are all appropriate. Although the majority have stayed the same, there have been a small number of changes.

It is important to read your poll card carefully when it arrives, as it will tell you where to vote and remind you to bring ID. You can also check the council's website to see which polling station you can vote at.

Important dates for your diary

  • Deadline to register to vote – Midnight, Tuesday 16 April
  • Deadline to apply for a postal vote or postal proxy – 5pm, Wednesday 17 April
  • Deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate – 5pm, Wednesday 24 April
  • Deadline to apply for a proxy vote – 5pm, Wednesday 24 April
  • Polling day – 7am to 10pm, Thursday 2 May

There is lots of helpful information on the council's website about the changes to elections and voting.

Remember your photo ID

As with the elections last year, photo ID is now a requirement to vote at your polling station, so please make sure you have suitable ID.

Although it is not the first year when ID is mandatory, not all wards had elections in 2023 and for many people, this will be the first time they have needed to bring it.

Accepted forms of ID include:

  • Passport
  • Full or provisional driving licence
  • Blue badge
  • Certain concessionary travel cards, such as an older person’s buss pass or an Oyster 60+ card
  • Identity card with Proof of Age Standards Scheme mark
  • Biometric Immigration document
  • Defence identity card
  • Certain national identity cards

You can also apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate (VAC). If you applied for a VAC last year, you do not need to apply again this year. Remember, the deadline to apply is 5pm on Wednesday 24 April.

Photo ID


Expired ID will also be accepted, as long as the photograph on the document still resembles a likeness to the elector.

A full list of accepted forms of ID is available on the Electoral Commission’s website, along with more information about photo ID and how to apply for a VAC.

If you turn up at a polling station without suitable photo ID, you will not be issued with a ballot paper. Bringing your poll card alone will not entitle you to vote.

Have your say, even if you're away

Absent voting allows you to vote in an election by post or by proxy if you are unable to vote in person at the polling station on the day.

For example, you may be unable to vote in person if you are at work, on holiday or have a medical condition or disability that makes it difficult.

You can now apply for a postal or proxy vote online. Remember, the deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on Wednesday 17 April and for a proxy vote is 5pm on Wednesday 24 April.

Postal vote applications will now be valid for three years - previously five years - but current postal voters do not need to re-apply and will be contacted by January 2026.

For all elections, there will now be restrictions on the handling of postal votes. Voters will not be allowed to hand in more than five postal ballot packs (in addition to their own).

Political parties and campaigners will be banned from handling postal vote packs.

If you are a postal voter, once received, you should complete and return your ballot paper pack as soon as possible using a Royal Mail post box.

If you miss the post, you can hand it in at the Council Offices, Shute End, Wokingham (during office hours) or your polling station on election day. Choosing to hand in your postal vote will mean that you must complete an additional form with an authorised member of staff. If you do not, your postal vote will be rejected. 

For people choosing to vote via post, the first batches of postal votes will be sent out from Tuesday 16 April, so keep an eye out for it.

Changes to ward boundaries and polling places

Some residents will be voting in a different ward to the one they last cast their vote in following a major change to ward boundaries. This came as a result of an independent review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England.

The council undertook a review of the polling places used across the borough. The review was conducted to ensure councillors represent roughly the same number of electors. The number of councillors will remain at 54, but there will now be 18 wards, each represented by three councillors.

Polling station


Changes to the polling places used at future elections were approved in January. Detailed maps showing existing ward and polling districts, as well as current polling places, are available online. You can also check the council's website to see which polling station you can vote at.

Help choose next Police and Crime Commissioner

PCC elections have been held every four years since 2012, apart from 2020 when they were delayed for one year by the pandemic. It’s an important election, as the job of the PCC is to ensure the policing needs of communities are met effectively and to oversee how crime is tackled in the Thames Valley.

The list of candidates standing for election will be published on Monday 8 April, then electors will be able to read the PCC candidates’ manifestos from Wednesday 10 April.

Anyone registered to vote will be eligible to have their say in the election. The result of the election will be announced on Saturday 4 May at Newbury Racecourse.

You can find out more about the PCC role online or watch this short video.

Supporting all residents to vote

If you are concerned that your safety would be at risk if your name or address were listed on the electoral register, you can register to vote anonymously by downloading and completing an application form from the Electoral Commission website

Due to the new requirement to bring photo ID to vote at a polling station, residents who register to vote anonymously, or who plan to register to vote anonymously, will also need to apply for an anonymous elector’s document (AED).

Anonymous registrations only last for one year, so you must ensure you apply every year to ensure you don’t lose your vote.

Applications need to be submitted before 5pm on Wednesday 24 April and the AED will need to be brought to the polling station. This means you do not need to show an additional form of photo ID when voting.

Voters with disabilities will have access to extra assistance in polling stations. You can bring anyone who is over the age of 18 to help you vote, or you can ask polling station staff for help to cast your vote.

Tactile voting devices, large print sample versions of the ballot paper and magnifiers will be available to help blind or partially sighted voters mark their ballot paper. You can also take your phone into the polling booth and use the magnifier, torch, or text-to-speech apps, to help you vote.

All polling stations will be accessible. Each polling station will have level access or an entry/exit ramp or a separate entrance, so that everyone can access it. Once inside, every polling station will have a wheelchair accessible polling booth.

All polling stations will also have easy-read guides about how to vote.

You can download a range of resources, including easy-read, large-print, braille and audio guides from the Electoral Commission's website.

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