When Is The Deadline To Register To Vote In The General Election?

Everything you need to know before 4 July...

Rishi Sunak general election

by Alice Hall |
Updated on

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced a general election on the 4 July 2024. In a statement given outside Downing Street on Wednesday in the pouring rain, Sunak said ‘Earlier today I spoke with his majesty the King to ask for the dissolution of Parliament. The King has granted this request and we will have a general election on the 4th of July.’

Meanwhile, Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has said the ‘opportunity for change’ will define the general election, calling it the ‘moment the country needs and has been waiting for.’

We all know how important it is to exercise our democratic right but there are a few things you need to be aware of ahead of this year's general election. For the first time in a general election, you will need to remember your photo ID when voting in person at the polling station. As in previous general elections, you must also register to vote do this before the deadline.

Whether you're voting IRL, by proxy or in the post, here's everything you need to know ahead of the general election on 4 July 2024...

When does voter registration close for the general election?

You must be registered in order to vote in the 4 July general election, so it's really important that you do this in good time. The deadline to register to vote is usually 12 days before the election date, but you have slightly less time this year as the Electoral Commission has confirmed the deadline to vote in this year's general election is 11.59pm on 18 June 2024.

It helps if you can beat the rush by registering early. In the week leading up to the last general election in December 2019, over a million people applied to vote or updated their details.

How can I register to vote in the general election?

The easiest way to register to vote is on the government's website here.

Another option is to contact your local Electoral Register office and ask them to post a form for you. Or you can print off your own form via the link here. After you've filled in your paper form, you will need to return the completed form to your local Electoral Register office.

You can register to vote from age 16 in England and Northern Ireland, while in Wales and Scotland it’s age 14. However, you must be 18 on polling day to vote in a general election.

How can I vote in the general election?

There are several ways to vote in the upcoming general election - in person, by proxy and by post. After registering to vote, you will receive a polling card before election day. If you're voting in person, you will need to take your card to your local polling station on the day. Polling stations are open between 7am and 10pm. And remember, following the new election rules introduced in 2023 you will need to bring photo ID. You can find your local polling station here.

How do I set up a postal vote?

If you're jetting off on holiday or won't be living near your registered address around the time of the general election, you can apply for a postal vote. Again, you must be registered to vote in order to do this. The Electoral Commission has confirmed with Grazia that the deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on 19 June 2024.

You will receive a ballot paper around three weeks before election day, which you need to send back to the polling station. It has to arrive no later than 10pm on polling day in order for your vote to be cast. If you're unable to post it, you can also hand in your ballot paper directly to the polling station before the deadline. You can apply for a postal vote on the government website here.

How do I set up a proxy vote?

If you're unable to vote in person, you can also apply to vote by proxy, which means someone else votes on your behalf at the polling station. This is allowed under certain circumstances, including: being away on polling day, being registered as an overseas voter, having a medical issue or disability, and not being able to vote in person due to work or military service. The Electoral Commission has confirmed with Grazia that the deadline to apply for a proxy vote online is 5pm on 26 June 2024.

If you want to apply for your proxy vote by post, you must get your proxy vote application to your local Electoral Registration Office by 5pm on 19 June 2024, according go the government website.

You can apply for a proxy vote on the government website here.

If you're a British citizen but don't live in the UK, you can also vote from abroad.

Do I need photo ID to vote?

Yes, you do. Since the new election rules were introduced in 2023, everyone needs to bring photo ID to vote in person at the polling station. This means the July general election will be the first one ever where people will need to show a form of ID to vote. The same rules applied to the local elections on 2 May 2024. You can use standard photo ID to vote, including a passport or driving licence.

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