Page last updated at 14:46 GMT, Thursday, 22 April 2010 15:46 UK
How to vote in a general election



Polling station

Once you are registered, you can vote in person, by post or by proxy.

IN PERSON

• You will be sent a polling card a week or two before the election, giving details of when and where you can vote.

• On election day, go to your allotted polling station (called polling places in Scotland), which will be in a public building, such as a local school or hall. Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm.

• For instructions on what to do once there, see our on-the-day guide.

BY POST

• You can apply to vote by post without giving a reason, unless you are voting in Northern Ireland.

• But the deadline to apply for a postal vote in England, Wales and Scotland for this general election passed on Tuesday, 20 April.

• If you live in Northern Ireland, the deadline for voting by post on the grounds of late illness is 27 April. To download a form, visit the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website.

• Once you have applied, your ballot paper will normally be sent out about a week before polling day.

For more information, go to the postal vote section on the Electoral Commission website.

BY PROXY

• You can appoint someone else to cast your vote on your behalf if you have a valid reason, such as falling ill and being unable to get to the polling station, or if you are abroad during the election.

• To vote by proxy in England, Wales and Scotland you need to fill in and return a form by 27 April. Again, you can pick one up at your local election office, or download one from the Electoral Commission website.

• Although the deadline to apply for a general proxy vote in England, Wales and Scotland is 27 April, you could still apply to vote by proxy for medical reasons after that date if you are suddenly incapacitated or taken ill. You can in fact apply for a proxy vote for medical reasons until 5pm on polling day.

• If you live in Northern Ireland, the deadline for voting by proxy on the grounds of late illness is also 27 April. You can download a form at the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website.



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