Now that the recent mayoral and local elections have passed, thoughts have turned to the upcoming EU referendum vote. Recent surveys have revealed that the outcome could be incredibly close, with support for both sides evenly split. With such close outcomes it’s important that as many eligible people as possible place their vote.
According to the Electoral Commission there are around 45.3 million people who are eligible to vote, however they also say there are millions who are not registered and will not be able to take part in the referendum vote.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to vote:
Am I allowed?
If you are a British citizen aged 18 and over and live in the UK, or if you have been living overseas for less that 15 years, you are eligible to vote. You can also vote if you are a citizen of Ireland or any of the 53 Commonwealth nations, aged over 18 and are resident in the UK. You can check out the further information here.
I need to register…
Anyone who qualifies above and who is over the age of 16 can register to vote (but you can only place your vote once you are 18 or over). You can no longer do whole house registrations, so you will need to apply individually. You also need to re-register if you have moved house since you last voted. To register you will need your name, address, date of birth, nationality and your National Insurance number. The quickest way to sign up is online, but you can also apply via the post.
The deadline for registration is the 7 June 2016.
How can I vote?
The EU Referendum takes place on the 23rd of June 2016. Upon registration, you will be sent a polling card with the details of your nearest polling station. The polls will be open from 7am until 10pm. If you will not be able to vote in person on the day you can register for a postal vote or to place your vote by proxy (meaning you appoint someone else you trust to cast your vote for you). To sign up for a postal vote you need to complete a postal vote application form and send it back to your local registration office by 5pm, 11 working days before the referendum.
If you need a proxy vote, you will need to print off, sign and send off your application form to your local electoral registration office. The deadline for making a new proxy application is usually 5pm, six working days before the poll, but more details can be found on the form. Something to be aware of – you and the person you want to act as your proxy have to be registered individually for a vote.