How to register to vote in the 2024 general election

The prime minister has confirmed an election will be held on 4 July.

Haringey, London, UK. 8th June, 2017. Signs outside a polling station in the North London Borough of Haringey, London, UK Credit: Thomas Carver/Alamy Live News
You must register to vote if you want a say in the next general election. (Alamy)

Rishi Sunak has called a general election for 4 July after a day filled with speculation that he could have his eye on a summer polling day.

Speaking outside Downing Street to confirm the surprise move, the prime minister said: "Now is the moment for Britain to choose its future."

Responding to the announcement of an election, Labour leader Keir Starmer said: “It will feel like a long campaign, I am sure of that, but no matter what else is said and done, that opportunity for change is what this election is about.”

The announcement came amid some rare welcome news for Sunak, as official figures showed inflation slowed to 2.3% in April, the lowest level since July 2021.

Here Yahoo News outlines what you need to do to register to vote in the general election.

To vote in the general election you will need to register on the government’s website via an online form. The site advises that it will take five minutes to fill in the form and you will need to supply your national insurance number.

You must be over the age of 16 and be a British citizen to register to vote in England, or 14 and above in Scotland and Wales. However, you must be 18 or over to vote in a general election.

If you're a British citizen moving or living abroad, you can register to vote in the normal way. People in Northern Ireland need to register with a paper form.

The deadline to register to vote in this general election is Tuesday, 18 June.

Once you are registered to vote, you can also apply for a postal vote via the government website to enable to cast your ballot by post if you can't get to the polling booth.

You can also apply for someone to vote on your behalf by applying for a proxy vote, although the person casting a vote on your behalf must also be registered to vote.

Voters in Northern Ireland can apply for postal or proxy votes, need to apply via the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland site.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is Wednesday, 19 June, while the deadline for applying for a proxy vote is Wednesday, 26 June.

British poll cards for voting in United Kingdom local and national government elections showing the need for photographic identification
You must have photo ID to vote in the general election. (PA)

Anyone wanting to vote in the general election will need to provide voter ID when voting in person at a polling booth. This must include a photo to be valid and it will still be valid even if the ID has expired.

Voters will need one of the following:

  • a UK or Northern Ireland photocard driving licence (full or provisional)

  • a driving licence issued by an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Isle of Man or any of the Channel Islands

  • a UK passport

  • a passport issued by an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or a Commonwealth country

  • a PASS card (National Proof of Age Standards Scheme)

  • a Blue Badge

  • a biometric residence permit (BRP)

  • a Defence Identity Card (MOD form 90)

  • a national identity card issued by the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

  • a Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card

  • a Voter Authority Certificate

  • an Anonymous Elector’s Document

One of the following travel passes is also acceptable as photo ID:

  • an older person’s bus pass

  • a disabled person’s bus pass

  • an Oyster 60+ card

  • a Freedom Pass

  • a Scottish National Entitlement Card (NEC)

  • a 60 and Over Welsh Concessionary Travel Card

  • a Disabled Person’s Welsh Concessionary Travel Card

  • a Northern Ireland concessionary travel pass

Any photo ID must look like you and the name must match what is written on the electoral register. If your name has changed you must bring documents that prove you have changed your name.

Anyone without photo ID can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate for free. This will allow you to vote in the general election but you need to do it by Wednesday, 26 June.

The upcoming general election will be the first since extensive boundary changes to the country’s constituencies were brought in. The new parliamentary constituencies were drawn up by the permanent and independent Boundary Commissions for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The changes were brought in an attempt to balance out the number of voters in each area. The Conservatives have previously said that an imbalance favoured Labour – in that they needed less votes for an MP to be elected than in other areas where the Tories needed more.

The four Boundary Commissions were obliged to ensure the new constituencies have an electorate within 5% of 73,392, which is the total number of voters on 2 March 2020 divided by 650, the number of Commons seats.

This now gives all constituencies between 69,724 and 77,062 voters with just five “island seats” exempt – Orkney and Shetland, Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Islands) in Scotland, Ynys Mon (Anglesey) in North Wales and the two seats allocated to the Isle of Wight.

The changes mean England is allocated 543 seats, an increase of 10. Wales will have 32 seats, a reduction of eight. Scotland will have 57, down two. Northern Ireland remains unchanged with 18.

May 22, 2024, London, England, United Kingdom: UK Prime Minister RISHI SUNAK leaves 10 Downing Street ahead of PMQs. (Credit Image: © Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!
Voters choose for their local MP rather than on who they want to be prime minister. (Alamy)

While much of the country may be experiencing a mild case of election fatigue following local and mayoral elections at the start of May, the general election is a much bigger affair. Every registered voter will now have a say – and it will be about more than just bin collections and potholes.

The general election will be the moment that Britain decides who will ultimately be the next prime minister. While there are several parties standing, the nature of Britain’s voting system, essentially means it will either be Rishi Sunak remaining as PM or Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer taking over the role.

However, while it may feel like voters are making a choice over who they want to be prime minister, voters are actually voting only for the person they wish to represent them as an MP in the House of Commons. Whichever party wins the most MPs will likely form the next government – providing they secure a majority. If not, the largest party will either try to form a minority government with an understanding of support in votes from political allies or enter into an official coalition with another party.

Hopeful MPs representing all nations in the United Kingdom can stand in the general election. However, the devolved nations hold their own, separate elections at different times. In these elections, voters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not voting for MPs to send to Westminster. Devolution means people vote for a national Parliament in Scotland, a Welsh Parliament – or Senedd Cymru – and a national Assembly in Northern Ireland.

These devolved parliaments have some levels of power separate from the UK Parliament – which itself has authority over the devolved institutions.