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.

You can check if you’re registered by calling us on (01226) 773070.

Why it’s important to vote

Voting gives you a say about who you want to represent you. This may be on your local council, in the UK Parliament, or in Europe. The people who make decisions about our lives, set taxes and make laws can 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 the 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, email, letter or by attending one of their surgeries.

Before an 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. This will state 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 as long as you’re registered. If you don’t know where your polling station is, you can find a polling station near you online.

Where you can vote

If you have registered to vote, you should've received a poll card through the post from us to tell you where your polling station is. 

Make sure you check your poll card before heading out to vote in case your polling station has changed since you last voted. You can take a look online to find a polling station near you

You must go to your designated polling station; you can't go to a different one, for example, near where you work. 

Voter ID

Voters need to show photo ID before voting in the following elections:

  • Local council elections in England
  • UK parliamentary general and by-elections
  • Police and crime commissioner elections.

The requirement to show photo ID was introduced by the UK Government’s Elections Act and was passed in 2022.  

Accepted forms of photo ID include your passport, driving licence, provisional driving licence, older person’s bus pass, disabled person’s bus pass or blue badge. 

You can find a full list of accepted forms of ID on the Electoral Commission website.

If you don't have acceptable ID

You can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate, if:

  • you don’t already have an accepted form of photo ID
  • you’re not sure whether your photo ID still looks like you

Find out more and apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.

Other ways to apply

You can also apply for a Voter Authority Certificate by post. Fill in the application form and send this to: Electoral Services, PO Box 634, Barnsley, S70 9GG. You can request a copy of the form by calling us on (01226) 773070.

You may also be able to apply in person by visiting Barnsley Town Hall, Church Street, Barnsley, S70 2TA.

If you need any help with applying for a Voter Authority Certificate, call us on (01226) 773070.

If you've lost your ID, Voter Authority Certificate or your Voter Authority certificate hasn't arrived

If you lose your ID or Voter Authority Certificate, or your Voter Authority Certificate does not arrive in time for election day, you can appoint an emergency proxy to vote on your behalf up until 5pm on election day.

The person appointed as proxy, voting on someone else’s behalf, must have their own acceptable photo ID.

You can arrange an emergency proxy vote by speaking to our Electoral Services team on (01226) 773070.

What happens at the polling station

When you get to the polling station

Polling station staff will be on hand to greet you and invite you in as soon as polls open at 7am.

The staff will ask to see an accepted form of photo ID or your Voter Authority Certificate – also known as a voter ID – to confirm your identity. A private area will be available at the polling station so a voter can choose to have their photo ID viewed in private if they like.

The staff will then give you a ballot paper listing who you can vote for. Depending on the elections taking place in your area, you may have more than one ballot paper to complete.

It should only take a few minutes to vote. If you’re still in a queue waiting to vote at 10pm, you’ll be able to vote before the polls close.

Completing your ballot paper

Take your ballot paper into a polling booth. There'll be a shelf for you to lean and write on. Use your own pen or pencil, but if you forgot to bring one, ask the poll clerks for one.

Take your time: read the ballot paper carefully and complete it in line with the instructions. Don't write anything else on the paper, or your vote may not be counted.

If you make a mistake, don't worry. As long as you haven't already put it in the ballot box, just let the polling station staff know and they can give you a replacement ballot paper.

Once you're done, fold your completed ballot paper in half and put it in the ballot box. This will be on the desk beside the poll clerks.

If you need help at the polling station

If you're not sure what to do or need any help, just ask the staff at the polling station – they'll be happy to assist you.

If you have a disability which means you can't fill in the ballot paper yourself, you can ask the presiding officer – the person in charge of the polling station - to mark the ballot paper for you, or you can take someone along with you to help you.

If you have a visual impairment, you can ask for a large print ballot paper to refer to when you cast your vote or a special tactile voting device that is designed so you can mark your ballot paper on your own.

Taking others to the polling station

You can go along to the polling station with whoever you like, but only those registered to vote at that station will be able to go inside.

You must not be accompanied into the polling booth by another adult, unless you have a disability, in which case you can take someone in to help you, or you can ask one of the polling station's staff for their help.

Children are welcome at polling stations. While your child must not mark the ballot paper for you, you'll will be allowed to take them into the polling booth with you.

Animals, apart from assistance dogs, are not usually allowed inside polling stations, so will need to be secured outside if you do decide to take them with you.

Taking selfies or other photos while voting 

You shouldn't take photos inside the polling station as it might put the secrecy of the ballot at risk.

You're more than welcome to take photos outside the polling station and share them on social media to encourage your friends and family to vote. You can use the hashtag #BarnsleyVote24 or #DogsAtPollingStations if you've taken your dog with you.

Outside the polling station

Your vote is yours and yours alone. You do not need to tell anyone how you voted.

Exit polls are sometimes conducted, where people – usually private companies working for newspapers or broadcasters – ask voters leaving the polling station who they voted for to help them predict what the outcome might be. You don't need to respond to their questions if you don't want to.

Political discussion is not allowed inside and immediately around the polling station and staff will ask you to stop so that there's no risk of influencing other voters. If you want to debate your vote with friends or family, please do it away from the polling station.


You might see people outside the polling station who ask you for the number on your poll card. These people are called 'tellers', and are volunteering on behalf of candidates or parties.

They'll use the information you give them to check who has voted, and to remind people who haven't yet voted to do so.

They're allowed to be there and to ask for the information, but you don't have to give them any information if you don't want to. If you're concerned about the conduct of a teller, speak to a member of staff at the polling station.

If you can’t make it to the polling station

You can apply to vote by post or vote by proxy (where you ask someone else to vote on your behalf) if you can't get to a polling station. 

Voting if you become unwell

If you've registered to vote but become unwell shortly before polling day, or on the day itself, you don't need to miss out on your vote.

You'll be able to apply for an emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day, so someone you can trust can vote on your behalf and they must have their own acceptable photo ID. You must give a reason why you need to vote by proxy and your application must be supported by a qualified medical professional.

You can arrange an emergency proxy vote by speaking to our Electoral Services team on (01226) 773070.

After voting has closed

When voting is over, the votes are counted. 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.