POLITICS

How Do I Vote In The General Election 2015?

06/05/2015 17:45 BST | Updated 06/05/2015 17:59 BST

You've watched the debates, read the manifestos and listened to the political catfights - now, FINALLY, it's time to cast your vote.

We answer all your questions about how to vote in the General Election tomorrow...

polling station uk

We're going to the polls - so make sure you're clued up on how to vote

Q. Am I eligible to vote?

A. If you are over 18 and a British, Irish, or qualifying Commonwealth citizen you are eligible to vote in UK general elections but you must have registered to vote beforehand.

The deadline for registration passed on April 20 so if you did not register you will not be able to vote in this General Election. We did warn you about this.

European Union or other foreign citizens, prisoners and members of the House of Lords cannot vote.

Anyone who has been convicted of corrupt or illegal practices in connection with an election in the last five years is also banned from voting. If you can't play fair, you don't get to play.

Q. I can't remember if I registered, how do I check?

A. If you have registered you will either have received a polling card or if you have registered for a postal vote, a postal voting pack.

If you have lost either of these amongst all the other election gubbins coming through your letter box, you can check with your local council to see whether you are registered.

GENERAL ELECTION 2015

Q. Where do I vote?

A. Your polling card will have your name on it and show the address of the polling station where you are registered to vote.

If you have registered to vote by post, the deadline for casting ballots has passed, but you may still fill out your vote and take it to your local polling station.

You can also check with your local council to see which is your polling station.

Q. When are the polling stations open?

A. Polling stations will be open between 7am and 10pm on Thursday May 7.

If you are at a particularly busy station and find yourself in a queue at 10pm you will still be allowed to cast your ballot thanks to a recent change in the law.

But if you arrive before 7am or after 10pm, you will not be able to vote.

election

A bookmaker displays the latest odds on the result of the election outside the House of Parliament

Q. What do I do once I get to the polling station?

A. You first need to give your name and address to a member of staff who has a list of registered voters.

If you are registered you will be handed ballot papers and directed to the voting booths, where you will cast your ballot.

You may be given more than one ballot paper if council and mayoral elections are also taking place in your local area.

You do not necessarily need to take your polling card with you but it can speed up the process.

Q. What should I mark down on the ballot paper?

A. Put an 'X' in the box next to the candidate you want to vote for and make sure no one can see you do it. It's not difficult, promise.

Once you have marked your preference, fold the paper in half, and put it in the polling station's ballot box.

Pencils will be provided but you may use your own pen if you're picky about your writing implements.

If you mark the paper in any other way it will be counted as spoilt, but if you make a mistake you may swap your paper for a new one with a member of staff, provided it has not gone into the ballot box.

election

The famous door at No 10 get spruced up for a potentially new resident

Q. What if I do not want to vote for any of the candidates?

A. You can spoil your ballot paper by marking it in any other way than an 'X' next to one candidate. This will then be counted as a spoilt ballot.

But if you are a disillusioned voter who wants to express your displeasure at the options in front of you, writing "none of the above" will not count specifically as a rejection of all the candidates - it will simply be counted as another spoilt ballot.

You can write your big political essay on your ballot paper if you want but this will also be counted as a spoilt ballot and, quite frankly, no one will read it.

Q. What about social media? Can I take selfies? Or post my vote on Twitter and Facebook?

A. The Electoral Commission advises voters not to take photos, including selfies, inside the polling station as the law covering this area is complex. Leave the selfie stick at home people.

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A badly-taken polling booth selfie in particular could inadvertently reveal how you or someone else has voted, potentially breaking laws around secret ballots. Also no one likes a badly taken selfie.

Once outside the polling station you are free to post on social media about which party you voted for. And enjoy the ensuing trolling.

Q. What if I am disabled and need help voting?

A. If you are disabled and need help getting to the polling station, contact your local elections office to find out what help is available.

You may also ask to have a companion with you when you vote.

election results

Infographic supplied by Statista