Everything you need to know about voting in person
The next District and Parish Elections scheduled to take place in North East Derbyshire will be held on Thursday 4 May 2023. Here is a useful guide to what you can expect if you’re voting in person on this day.
Where is my polling station?
If you are registered to vote, you will receive a poll card through the post from North East Derbyshire District Council. It will tell you where your polling station is.
Make sure you check your poll card before heading out to vote, in case your polling station has changed since you last voted.
Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm. You can vote at any time within this window. You must go to your designated polling station as specified on your poll card; you can’t go to a different one, for example, near where you work.
Do I need to take anything with me?
In April 2022, the Government passed the Elections Act 2022 which requires all voters in Great Britain to show a Voter ID (Photo ID) at polling stations in Parliamentary, Local and Police and Crime Commissioner Elections and all Referendums in England.
The first set of polls that this applies to in North East Derbyshire is the District and Parish Elections on Thursday 4 May 2023. From October 2023 it will also apply to UK Parliamentary General Elections.
Most forms of photo ID can be used as your Voter ID. The full list of accepted ID can be found on the Electoral Commission Website at https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/voter-id/accepted-forms-photo-id
What happens when I get there?
Polling station staff will be on hand to greet you and invite you in as soon as polls open at 7am. The polling station staff will first ask you to present your photo ID. Should you wish to present your ID to the polling station staff in private, either a separate area or room will be available for you to do this.
The polling station staff will next give you a ballot paper. Depending on the elections taking place in your area, you may have more than one ballot paper to complete.
Take your ballot paper into a polling booth. There will be a shelf for you to lean and write on. If you wish you can use you own pen or pencil to mark the ballot paper.
How do I complete the ballot paper?
Take your time: read the ballot paper carefully and complete it in line with the instructions.
Don't write anything else on the paper, or your vote may not be counted.
If you make a mistake, don't worry – as long as you haven't already put it in the ballot box, just let the polling station staff know and they will assist you.
What do I do with the ballot paper then?
Once you're done, fold your completed ballot paper in half and put it in the ballot box. This will be on the desk beside the Polling Station Staff.
What if I need help?
If you're not sure what to do, or need any help, just ask the staff at the polling station – they will be happy to assist you.
What if I have access issues?
If you have a disability which means you can't fill in the ballot paper yourself, you can ask the Presiding Officer – the person in charge of the polling station - to mark the ballot paper for you, or you can take someone along with you to help you.
If you have a visual impairment, you can ask for a large print ballot paper to refer to when you cast your vote, or a special tactile voting device that is designed so you can mark your ballot paper on your own.
Should I tell anyone who I voted for?
Your vote is yours and yours alone: you do not need to tell anyone how you voted.
Exit polls are sometimes conducted, where individuals ask voters leaving the polling station who they voted for to help them predict what the outcome of the election might be. You do not need to respond to their questions if you don’t want to.
Political discussion is not allowed inside and immediately around the polling station and staff will ask you to stop so that there’s no risk of influencing other voters. If you want to debate your vote with friends or family, do it away from the polling station.
What are ‘tellers’? Why are they asking for the number on my poll card?
You might see people outside the polling station who ask you for the number on your poll card. These people are called 'tellers', and are volunteering on behalf of candidates or political parties. They will use the information you give them to check who has voted, and to remind people who haven't yet voted, to do so.
They are allowed to be there and to ask for the information, but you don't have to give them any information if you don't want to. If you are concerned about the conduct of a teller, speak to a member of staff at the polling station.
Can I take selfies or other photos while I’m voting?
You shouldn’t take photos inside the polling station as it might put the secrecy of the ballot at risk.
You are more than welcome to take photos outside the polling station and share them on social media to encourage your friends and family to vote.
Can I take my friend / partner / children / parents / dog?
You can go along to the polling station with whomever you like, but only those registered to vote at that station will be able to go inside. You must not be accompanied into the polling booth by another adult, unless you have a disability, in which case you can take someone in to help you, or you can ask one of the polling station staff for their help.
Children are welcome at polling stations. While your child must not mark the ballot paper for you, you will be allowed to take them into the polling booth with you.
Animals, apart from assistance dogs, are not usually allowed inside polling stations, so will need to be secured outside if you do decide to take them with you.