To vote in any UK elections, you must be registered on the electoral register.
Registering to vote doesn’t mean you have to vote – it just means you can if you want to.
Check whether you’re registered by calling the Elections Helpline on (01226) 773070.
Why it’s important to vote
Voting gives you a say about who you want to represent you on your local council, in the UK Parliament, and in Europe. The people who make decisions about our lives, set taxes, and make laws are able to do so because they’re elected into power. Your vote is your voice – make sure it’s heard!
We have 63 local councillors in Barnsley, with three councillors representing each of 21 wards. They’re elected to take up issues on your behalf, regardless of whether you voted for them or not. You can contact your councillors by phone, by letter, by email or by attending one of their surgeries.
Before the election
The election candidates will usually push leaflets through your letterbox to let you know about themselves and their election campaigns. They may also make house to house calls around your area to try to get your support.
Before election day, everyone in your household who’s eligible to vote should receive a poll card stating the date of the election, where your polling station is, and the polling hours, which are 7am to 10pm.
If you don’t receive your polling card, don’t worry; you can still vote providing you’re registered. If you don’t know where your polling station is, call the Elections Helpline on 01226 773070.
Outside the polling station
You may see people standing outside the polling station while the vote is taking place. They’re called tellers and they try to ascertain who has or hasn’t voted. They work for the political parties and candidates, but have no standing in electoral law. You don’t have to tell them your details if you don’t want to.
Registering your vote
When you arrive at the polling station on election day, the polling staff will ask you for your name and address. You can show them your poll card, but you can still vote without it.
Once the polling staff have checked that you’re on the register, they’ll give you a ballot paper which lists the candidates and parties you can vote for. If there’s more than one election taking place on the same day, they may give you more than one ballot paper.
Take your ballot paper into one of the polling booths so that no-one can see how you vote. Mark a cross (X) in the box next to the person or party you want to vote for. Don’t write anything else on the ballot paper or your vote may not be counted.
Fold your ballot paper in half and put it in the ballot box.
If you need help to mark your ballot paper, you may take someone along to the polling station with you, but you must tell the staff when you get there if you want to do this. The presiding officer will also help if you ask them.
Polling station staff are there to help, so please ask if there’s anything you’re not sure about.
If you can’t make it to the polling station
After voting has closed
When voting is over, the votes are counted and the candidates who receive the most votes will be elected on to the council (or UK parliament) to represent your area.
Election results will be published as soon as possible after the election.