VOTE!

Polling Day

Where to vote

Your polling station might not be in the same place it usually is (more so this time, with it being December and hastily organised).

Your polling card will tell you where you can vote, but if you can’t find that, here’s how to find out where to vote.

You can hopefully find your polling station on  https://wheredoivote.co.uk/. This is crowdsourced, and it’s not complete. If they don’t list your polling station they will link you to your local authority, and the information should be on their site. If you can’t find it there call them up – there will be someone there to direct you to the right place.

What to bring?

Just yourself!

(and maybe a dog for #dogsatpollingstations)

  • You don’t need your polling card.
  • You don’t need ID.
  • You just need to know your name and the address you’re registered to.

NOTE: This doesn’t apply to Northern Ireland, where you do need ID to vote.

Emergency!

If you have a work- or medical-related emergency that stops you getting to the polling station, you can apply for an emergency proxy vote up until 5pm on polling day.

You’ll need to find a proxy who can get to your polling station, and who is eligible to vote in the election. (They don’t need to be voting in the same constituency as you.)

You’ll probably also need a health care professional/ employer to support your application.

If you need an emergency proxy get in touch with your local electoral services (https://wheredoivote.co.uk/ will give you the link & contact details) ASAP.

Tactical Voting

 

But who do I vote for?

How do you decide who to give your vote to? How do find out your local candidates’ policies, and their party’s policies?

Party policies are easy enough. There are plenty of guides and quizzes out on the internet to help you decide.

I like Vote for Policies a lot. It summarises each party’s policy on various subjects, anonymises them and sticks them side by side for you to choose your favourites. And then gives you a breakdown at the end. (I got 100% green, fwiw. But I’d already read our manifesto – and the other manifestos – so I’m not sure I was clicking innocently.

If you prefer a question by question quiz, Who Should I Vote For is a good place to start.

I’m always a little bit wary of political quizzes, though; bias can creep into them. So don’t take the first one you come across and stick with the answer it gives you, and take a look at who’s behind any you take.

(Vote For Policies also make Policy Tracker  – which tracks the winner’s manifesto promises against what they actually do.)

But!

I really wish I didn’t need to have this bit here. But! We’re seeing huge spending policies all over the place, and political parties are promising the moon on a stick to everyone. So – you need to look at how realistic those promises are, and how much you trust that party to actually implement them if they’re in power. So, a bit of critical thinking – and talking – wouldn’t go amiss.

You’re electing an MP – not a party

Unless you live in Uxbridge and South Ruislip you can’t actually vote for Boris Johnson, and unless you live in Islington North you can’t vote for Jeremy Corbyn. Sorry! So it’s really helpful to know where your local candidates stand on the issues that are most important to you – especially now, when there’s been so much disagreement within political parties.

How do you do this, though?

Local press (and radio and TV) will generally have a little bit of coverage of local candidates, but it can be quite brief and sound-bitey.

There will be hustings happening somewhere near you. (They may already have happened – I’ve been writing this slowly for weeks.) I think that hustings can be a really good way to get a deeper understanding of all your local candidates’ motivations. They may have been filmed and available online if you’ve missed them.

Email them! I have approximately a gazillion emails to reply to still,  but most of them are via campaign groups. When I get an email from an Actual Person I prioritise that, even when I know that the answers I’m giving aren’t what they want to hear. Email your candidates asking their views on the things that are most important to you. Be a little bit patient – some of us are trying to juggle work and cat-scritching and electioneering (and ideally getting a tiny bit of sleep). Who Can I Vote For (from the excellent Democracy Club) will give you contact details for all of your local candidates.