When, where and how to vote

Essential information if you are heading out to vote today.

Starmer holds a mug with the word 'change' on it. Sunak is celebrating.
Keir Starmer (L), leader of the Labour Party. Rishi Sunak (R), leader of the Conservative Party. Composite: Great Central Gazette. Photographs: Labour Party (L), Edward Massey / CCHQ (R)

Polls are now open as Leicester is set to decide who they want representing them in parliament. This year’s general election is expected to end with a historic victory for Labour, with talk of Sir Keir Starmer leading his party to a majority in the House of Commons.

Huge losses have also been cited as the likely outcome for the Conservatives. Some polls have predicted Rishi Sunak’s party could come away with less than 100 seats across the country. While Leicester is expected to remain a Labour stronghold, Leicester East is widely speculated to be a very close race.

But before the results can be announced, however, you need to cast your vote. We have pulled together a breakdown of everything you need to know for polling day.

When and where do I vote?

Polls opened at 7am this morning, Thursday, 4 July. They will close at 10pm. If you have opted to vote in person, you should have received a polling card in the post, which will include the address of the polling station where you have to cast your vote. If you have lost your polling card, you can check where to vote here.

General Election 2024
Find your candidates, polling station, key dates, previous general election results, and more.

What do I have to take?

Photo ID is now required for you to vote in an election. Accepted forms of ID include passports and drivers licences. You can use:

  • Passport
  • Driving or provisional licence
  • Blue badge
  • Some concessionary travel cards
  • Identity card with PASS mark (Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • Biometric immigration document
  • Defence identity card
  • Some national identity cards
  • Free Government Voter Authority Certificate (VAC)

You can use your ID even if it is out of date, so long as the picture is recognisably you. The name on your ID should be the same name as you used to register to vote. If you have recently changed your name, you can take a deed poll or marriage certificate as proof along with photo ID.

Your polling card can speed up the process for you, but taking it is not a requirement when it comes to voting. Polling clerks will have a list of people who can vote and will be able to look up your name.

When you’re in the polling station, you will be given a ballot paper, and you will find a pen or pencil in the voting booth, so you do not need to take those with you.

Do I need to remove face coverings to vote?

If you wear face coverings for religious, personal or medical reasons, you may be asked to briefly remove it, so the polling clerks can check your ID. At last year’s local elections, the city council provided privacy screens for this purpose, and women wearing veils can ask for a female clerk to assist them.

How do I vote?

When you arrive, the polling clerk will ask for your ID and then will check your name off on the list of people who can vote in this election. They will give you your ballot and direct you towards an empty booth.

Your ballot paper will list the names of everyone standing in your constituency and which party they represent. Choose the candidate you wish to support by putting an X in the box by their name.

Do not worry if you make a mistake, you can ask for a fresh ballot sheet. Once you are happy with your choice, fold your slip and pop it in the ballot box provided. And that’s you done.

Who can I vote for?

In UK elections, you vote for a local MP who represents you in parliament. While political parties reflect candidates' values, you are not voting specifically for the party itself or its leader.

If you are still undecided on who to vote for, you can take our quiz here to find out which party you most agree with. Alternatively, you can read our voting guides for Leicester East, Leicester South and Leicester West.

Leicester East: your guide to the 2024 general election
Everything you need to know ahead of polling day on Thursday, 4 July.
Leicester South: your guide to the 2024 general election
Everything you need to know ahead of polling day on Thursday, 4 July.
Leicester West: your guide to the 2024 general election
Everything you need to know ahead of polling day on Thursday, 4 July.

What if I do not like any candidate?

You can spoil your ballot in protest, which will register your disapproval of the available options. This can be done however you want, like writing a big X across the ballot paper. However, you must make sure your spoilt ballot cannot be interpreted as a vote for any one candidate; otherwise it will be counted.

All spoilt ballots are recorded and the total number of spoilt votes is read out alongside the results on election night.

How do I know my constituency?

For some, boundaries will have changed for this year’s election. You can find your constituency name on your polling card or by entering your postcode here.

What is voter fraud?

It is illegal for anyone to influence another to vote against their will. This can include pressuring them into voting a certain way, offering them something in exchange for their vote, pretending to be them at a polling station, and filling in a postal vote for them. You can report electoral fraud to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at crimestoppers-uk.org.

When will we find out the results?

Polls close at 10pm and then the counts start. In Leicester, we are expecting results to start coming in at around 1.45am.

You can follow our live coverage of the results on this page from 12pm today.

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