By: Simon B
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Voting in the UK
When an election is called, you’re sent a polling card, with the details where you should go to vote and the local polling station’s hours which is normally held in a community office or local school.
If you don’t want to go to the polling station, or can’t go, you may be able to vote by post or vote by proxy (appoint someone else to vote for you). If you want to apply for a postal vote, you can get a form from the electoral registration office at your local council or from www.postalvotes.co.uk. You must get your application in at least six working days prior to Election Day. Your voting or ballot paper will be sent to you, and you have to sign a form in the presence of a witness to confirm that you’re the person registered to vote by post.
If you want to appoint someone else to vote on your behalf, that person must be someone who is eligible to vote in their own right. The application process is similar to that for postal votes, but you have to convince the electoral registration officer that you can’t be expected to vote in person on polling day. Your application may be turned down.
People with disabilities can apply for postal and proxy votes, but if you have a visual impairment and you want to vote in person, the polling station has to provide a large print version of the ballot paper for you. If you have a physical disability or can’t read, you may be allowed to take someone with you to help you, but that person must be eligible to vote themselves. If you don’t have anyone to go with you, you can ask the presiding officer of the polling station for help. For more information, go to www.direct.gov.uk or contact your local authority. The Government is trying out online voting at some local elections, and it may be an option for all voters in the future.