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Elections 2023: Voting rules and what to take to polling station





Do you need to take an ID or a pen when voting and what are the rules around taking pictures in the polling station?

There are a few things people should know as they head to the polls in Cambridgeshire to vote in this year’s local elections.

Voters go to the polls today
Voters go to the polls today

There are four councils in the area that are holding elections today (Thursday, May 4), Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council, and Peterborough City Council.

City and district councils are responsible for things such as running leisure facilities, making planning decisions, and collecting bins.

Peterborough City Council is a unitary authority, which means it has more responsibilities compared to the others, which come under Cambridgeshire County Council.

Here are some of the rules around voting in polling stations and things people may need to know before heading out to cast their vote today.

When do I go to vote?

Polling stations opened at 7am this morning. People registered should have been sent a polling card ahead of election day which will say what polling station they should go to vote at.

What time do polling stations shut?

Polling stations will shut at 10pm this evening. If there is a queue at the polling station people will still be able to vote as long as they joined the queue before 10pm.

Peterborough City Council is planning to count the votes overnight, but the other three councils holding elections in the area are scheduled to start counting the votes the following day (Friday, May 5).

Do I need to take a pen to vote?

The Electoral Commission has advised that people can bring their own pen or pencil if they prefer, but pencils will be provided at the polling station.

Do I need to take my poll card with me?

People do not need to take their polling card with them when they go to vote, at the polling station they will be asked for their name and address to check they are on the electoral register.

However, if someone has registered to vote anonymously they will be asked to show their poll card alongside an anonymous elector’s document.

Do I need to take an ID?

Yes, this is the first time people in England are required to show an accepted form of photo ID when voting.

The law changed last year so that voters have to show ID before being issued a ballot paper in polling stations.

The government has set out what forms of ID will be accepted from voters, including passports, driving licence, a blue badge, and some forms of travel passes.

People without an accepted form of ID were able to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate to use instead.

If someone arrives without an accepted form of ID they will be asked to come back with the ID.

Polling station staff will need to complete a form to record that a ballot could not be issued and give the reason why. They will also be recording the number of voters who did return with an accepted form of ID.

If someone is registered to vote anonymously they will be asked to show their poll card and anonymous electors document.

If I am wearing a face covering will I have to remove it to vote?

People will be asked to remove a face covering, such as a mask worn on medical grounds or a face veil worn on religious grounds, when polling station staff check the ID.

The Electoral Commission has said people can ask for the ID to be checked in private, and it is also possible to ask for a female member of staff to check ID, which should be granted if possible.

A mirror should also be available at the polling station to allow people to replace their face covering once their ID has been checked.

Can I take my dog?

Dogs can come along for the walk to the polling station, but will need to be left secured outside when people go in to vote.

However, assistance dogs will be allowed inside the polling station.

Can I take a selfie when I vote?

Taking pictures inside a polling station is not allowed as it could risk the secrecy of the ballot.

People are allowed to take pictures and selfies outside of the polling station. The Electoral Commission said people are “more than welcome” to do this and share the pictures on social media to help encourage family and friends to vote as well.

What if I can not make it to the polling station?

People who can not make it to a polling station to vote, but have not already applied for a postal vote, or a proxy vote, may be able to apply for an emergency proxy vote.

Anyone who has a medical emergency, are away for work, or whose photo ID is lost, stoled, destroyed, or damaged, can apply for an emergency proxy vote up until 5pm.



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