Published on

1 July 2024

Make your voice heard at Thursday's general election

Get ready to vote at the upcoming election by checking your photo ID is suitable and where your polling station is

Polling station

The general election is taking place this Thursday (4 July) and polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm.

It is important all residents are ready to take part and the council is urging everyone to make sure they have suitable photo ID.

Poll cards explain where to vote and residents must go to their allocated polling station. If they lose their poll card, they can still vote. All voters need to give their name and address to the staff on duty to vote.

If they have lost their poll card and do not know where their polling station is, they can check their polling station on the council’s website, where they can also find out who is standing at the election.

Residents who are in a queue at 10pm will still be able to vote, but if they arrive after 10pm, then the poll will be closed and they will have missed their chance to take part.

Remember your photo ID

The need to bring ID to a polling station has been in place since May 2023, but may be new to those who did not vote in the last two local elections. Failing to turn up suitable ID will result in not being issued with a ballot paper.

There are many forms of ID that are accepted, including a passport, driving licence and blue badge. A full list of accepted forms of ID can be found on the Electoral Commission’s website.

Expired ID will also be accepted, as long as you still look like the photograph on the document. Bringing a poll card by itself will not entitle you to vote. It needs to be the original document and not a photocopy or photo of the original.

Changes to parliamentary constituencies

Following changes to parliament constituency boundaries, residents now fall into one of two areas for electing Members of Parliament:

  • Earley and Woodley
  • Wokingham

There are five candidates for each of these seats and residents can find out who is standing at the election on the council’s website.

Advice for postal voters

Anyone who is voting by post should have received their postal ballot pack. Anyone who is too late to return the pack by post has the option to hand it in at the Council Offices, Shute End, Wokingham (during office hours). They can also take it to their polling station up to 10pm on polling day.

However, handing in a postal vote means an additional form must be completed with an authorised member of staff. If it is not completed, the postal vote will be rejected. 

There are new restrictions on the handling of postal votes. Residents can find out more about this on the council’s website.

If a ballot paper is spoilt, don’t throw any part of the ballot paper pack away. Instead, return it to the Electoral Services Team and replacements can be issued up to 5pm on polling day.

What to do at the polling station

After showing suitable photo ID, the staff at the polling station will give residents a ballot paper, listing the candidates they can vote for and they are on hand to provide advice on the voting process.

Electors should take their ballot paper into a polling booth so that nobody can see how they vote. They should read it carefully, as it will tell them how to cast their vote. They should not write anything else on the paper, or the vote may not be counted.

Follow the instructions and a pencil will be provided. Finally, fold the completed ballot papers in half and pop it in the ballot box.

Information for proxy voters

Anyone who has appointed a proxy must make sure that person is able to vote at the correct polling station on their behalf and they must have their photo ID with them.

Electors are now only able to act as a proxy for a maximum of four people. No more than two of these can be domestic (non-overseas) electors. In certain circumstances, if someone has an emergency that means they can't vote in person, they can apply for an emergency proxy. This includes:

  • You have a medical emergency
  • You are away for work
  • Your photo ID is lost, stolen, destroyed or damaged

This must be something that you weren't aware of before the normal proxy vote deadline. Residents can apply for an emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day.

Accessibility at polling stations

Voters with disabilities will have access to extra assistance in polling stations. They can bring anyone who is over the age of 18 to help them vote, or they can ask polling station staff for help to cast their 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. They can also take a phone into the polling booth and use the magnifier, torch, or text-to-speech apps to help them vote.

All polling stations are accessible. Each polling station has 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. There are also Easy Read guides about how to vote.

We have a dedicated webpage on accessibility at polling stations, which has lots more information about the help available.

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