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

There are several polling stations around the borough. You can take a look online to find a polling station near you. You can also see a list of polling stations for May 2024.

Voter ID

You need to show photo ID when you vote at a polling station. You can find out which type of photo ID is accepted on the Electoral Commission website.

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.

Outside the polling station

You may see people standing outside the polling station while the vote is taking place. These people are 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. This will list 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. 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

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. 

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.