The General Election 2024 polling station rules that voters must follow

Polling Station signs outside a school in the UK.
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

Voters across the UK are being urged to take note of the rules they must follow at poling stations this summer.

With a General Election confirmed to go ahead this July 4, people across the UK will be preparing to cast their vote for the Next Member of Parliament. Many will be doing this in person by heading to their local polling station - and there are a few things they should note before doing so.

From bringing children to pets and chatting in the facility, voters must follow certain "dos and don'ts" to ensure that their say counts. Here's everything in-person voters should know before they arrive to poling stations this summer, according to the Electoral Commission.

Do I need to bring ID to vote?

An official poll card for government elections and a UK photo driving licence as prove of identity.
Voters should bring ID with them to polling stations -Credit:Getty Images

Voters across the UK will need to bring a photo ID with them in order to cast their vote this General Election.

There are 22 acceptable forms of ID that voters in Scotland can use to verify their identity, including passport, drivers licence, blue badge, a Scottish National Entitlement Card and more, with a full list found here.

If you don't have a photo ID, you can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate. You can also apt for one if you're not sure whether your photo ID still looks like you, of if you're worried about using an existing form of ID for any other reason - such as the use of a gender marker.

You can still use your photo ID if it's out of date, as long as it looks like you. The name on your ID should be the same name you used to register to vote.

You can ask to have your ID checked in private. You can also request that a female member of staff checks your ID and this request will be granted if possible.

Can I bring my children to vote?

Voters turn up to the polling station with whomever they like, but only adults who are registered to vote can go inside.

Parents are permitted to bring young children with them into the polling booth, but they must not mark the ballot paper for you.

Voters must not be accompanied into the polling booth by another adult, unless you are a person with a disability. In this case, you can take someone in to help you, or you can ask one of the polling station staff for their help.

Can I ask for help to vote if I am disabled?

Voters with disabilities can ask for extra assistance at polling stations, including asking for a person over the age of 18 to come into the booth to assist them.

Polling stations should provide as a minimum certain assisting equipment at polling stations, including extra chairs, low level polling booths, magnifiers, tactile voting devices for those with visual impairment and at least one large print display version of the ballot paper.

Can I bring my dog to the polling station?

Assistance dogs are only permitted inside polling stations, so other pet owners will be required to keep their dog outside.

Can I take selfies while I'm voting in the polling station?

Voters are not aloud to take selfies or photographs while inside the polling station, as it may put the secrecy of ballots at risk, as stated by the Electoral Commission.

Maintaining the secrecy of a ballot is important and set out in legislation, especially for those helping in elections or manning polling stations. Under the Referendums (Scotland) Act 2020, "everyone involved in the electoral process must maintain the secrecy of voting in the referendum".

This means that voters must not reveal in any way how someone else has voted, even if done by accident. Those involved in the voting process like volunteers can be hit with £5,000 fines if caught breaking this rule.

However, voters are more than welcome to take photos outside the polling station and share them online to encourage others to vote.

Can I talk about the election while inside the polling station?

Discussing candidates within or around polling stations is banned and staff will intervene if they hear any voters doing so. This is to prevent the risk of influencing other voters.

Any debates around voting should be done away from the facility.

What are 'tellers' and do I have to give them the number on my poll card?

You do not have to give a teller any information if you don't want to, but they are aloud to ask for your poll car number.

On voting day, tellers are volunteers on behalf of candidates or parties that will ask for your poll card number. They do this to gather information on who has voted and to remind others who haven't to do so.

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