How to vote at the Polling Station
The traditional way to vote in Britain is at the polling station. In the weeks before an election all registered electors will receive a poll card detailing information about where and when to vote. The poll card is for information only, but it will help save time if you take it with you to the polling station.
If you are not registered to vote you cannot vote.
The polling station may have a number of desks which are divided alphabetically by street. The clerk at the relevant desk will receive your poll card; if you do not possess your poll card simply tell the clerk your name and address. Once this has been confirmed you will receive your ballot paper(s) stamped with the official mark, and you will be directed to the polling booth.
Once inside the polling booth, take care to ensure you vote for the number of candidates required, and that no mark is made that could reveal your identity. Once you have cast your ballot, take your folded paper to the same desk and place it in the ballot box provided.
If you spoil your ballot paper simply take the spoilt ballot to the desk and the staff will issue you with a new one. Do not place the spoilt ballot paper in the ballot box.
Voting with a disability
All of our polling stations are required to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act. Every polling station will contain ramps to enable wheelchair users to access the polling station, and special polling booths are provided for electors in wheelchairs.
If you are blind or partially sighted large print ballot papers are available, along with devices to enable you vote without assistance.
If you require assistance from a third party you are able to take a companion into the polling booth or request assistance from the Presiding Officer. Please inform the Presiding Officer if you need assistance with voting.
Use of schools as polling stations
With regard to the use of schools as Polling Stations, the borough is divided into administrative areas, known as Polling Districts, to which the Council is required to allocate a Polling Place. The Polling Place must be within the Polling District, accessible to the electors living within the Polling District and have disabled access. If there is a community or other building in the Polling District that can be used this would be the first option. Schools are used as a last resort.
The Council does not require the school to close when it is used as a Polling Station and would be very happy to work with the school to find a solution to enable the school to continue to operate on that day. This would, however, need to ensure that the arrangements do not impede the poll and, more importantly, ensure the children’s safety is maintained.
The Council is able to require the use of a publicly funded school and they can only recover reasonable costs e.g. heating, lighting, extra caretaker hours.
A review of borough Ward Boundaries is ongoing, which will result in changes to these boundaries. In preparation for this the Council has carried out a Polling District Review (including a public consultation - now closed), which will come into effect before the elections scheduled in 2019; The revised boundaries may enable alternative options which help to reduce the use of schools. The proposals arising from this consultation will be considered by the Council at its meeting on 25 July 2018.