What Happens on Election Day?

Most people vote at a polling station. This is usually a local school or hall. Polling stations are open from 7.00 am to 10.00 pm. Registered voters get a poll card before the election, which tells them which polling station to go to.

When people arrive at the polling station they are asked for photographic identification. Then voters are given a ballot paper which lists the parties and candidates running in the constituency. People vote for candidates in order of preference. This is done by writing numbers on the ballot paper - one for their first preference, two for second preference and so on. Voters can select as many or as few candidates as they like. They mark their ballot papers in the privacy of voting booths, then their ballot papers are posted into secure ballot boxes.

Voters can apply to cast their vote by post if they are unable to get to the polling station on Election Day – this could be due to illness or being on holiday. People can also apply to have someone vote on their behalf if they cannot make it to the Polling Station.

Once the polling closes, the count begins. This is done in full view of those present to ensure the process is open and transparent. It can take a day or two for all the winners to be announced.