Making sure you can vote at the EU Referendum

This is my first post in a while. The referendum campaign has been dismal on both sides, and you could be forgiven for being totally put off politics for life. I was surprised to learn recently that pollsters are predicting a turnout lower than last year’s General Election, which is rather depressing to me as there’s much more at stake now than last year. Everyone should vote on the 23rd June, whichever side you are on. Personally, I applied for a postal vote a long time ago, so cast my vote last week. If you didn’t do that though, here are some key dates to make sure you are able to cast your vote.

7th June @ Midnight

This is the deadline to register to vote. You should already be on the electoral roll, but if not, you need to register now. It’s pretty easy and can be done online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. You are eligible to vote in the referendum if you are a UK, commonwealth, or Irish citizen living in the UK, or a UK citizen living overseas, but registered at a UK address within the last 15 years. If you are a student living at a university address, you may be back at home on 23rd June, so make sure you are also registered at your parent’s address if you return there for any lenth of time.

8th June @ 5pm

If you can’t get to your polling station on 23rd June for any reason (or are just lazy), you have until this date and time to apply for a postal vote. While you can register to vote online, to get a postal vote, you actually need to fill in a paper form. That’s because a copy of your signature is required to verify your vote when you return it in the post. You can download a postal vote application form from here. Once completed, you can scan and email your form directly to your  local council. Find their email address here. Bear in mind though that if you apply for a postal vote now, you probably won’t receive it until around a week before the referendum day, so if you are going on holiday before then, you may need to apply for a proxy vote. Which brings us to…

15th June @ 5pm

Again, if you can’t get to the polling station on the 23rd and a postal vote isn’t suitable for you, or you miss the 8th June deadline, the 15th is the deadline to apply for a proxy vote. A proxy vote is where you appoint a friend or family member to vote on your behalf. Again, like with a postal vote, you need t0 fill in  paper form, and you can get one from here. The person you appoint as proxy will need to go along to your polling station and then vote as normal for you.

23rd June @ 5pm

If, after 5pm on the 15th June, you have a medical emergency, or a suddenly called away for work reasons which would cause you to miss the poll on 23rd June, you can apply for an emergency proxy vote. This is much like a normal proxy vote, but you have to jump through a couple more hoops to get one. More information on that is here.

Some other key pieces of info

If you applied for a postal vote, but didn’t receive it or you lost it, you can get a replacement from 17th June until 5pm on polling day. You normally have to go down to your local council with ID to get one though. If you forget to post it back, you can hand it in at any polling station until polls close at 10pm. Voting starts at 7am on 23rd (unless you live in Barnet, then who knows what time it will be 🙂 )

That’s about it, so now you have no excuses for not voting. If you are not yet registered, get your skates on because you only have 2 more days to sort it out.

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