Local Elections 2024: Everything you need to know including voter ID explainer

Chaucer Way at Honicknowle Polling Station for the Plymouth City Council elections
Chaucer Way at Honicknowle Polling Station for the Plymouth City Council elections -Credit:Matt Gilley/PlymouthLive

There are a few important things Plymouth people need to do and rules to follow when casting their votes in the local elections this year. These rules include bringing an accepted form of photo ID that voters will be required to show to polling station staff before they will be allowed to vote.

There are two sets of elections taking place in Plymouth this week (Thursday, May 2), including for Plymouth City Council and for the Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner.

The city councils are responsible for providing a number of services including waste collection, running leisure facilities, providing council housing, and making planning decisions.

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Plymouth City Council is also a unitary authority, which means it has additional responsibilities such as road maintenance, social care, and education. People across Plymouth, as well as those in Devon and Cornwall, will also be asked to vote for who they want to be the next PCC.

The role of the elected PCC is to hold the Chief Constable and the county's police force to account. They are also expected to work in partnership across a range of agencies, both regionally and nationally, to make sure there is a coordinated approach to preventing and reducing crime. Here are some of the rules around voting in polling stations and things people may need to know before heading out to cast their vote, reports CambridgeshireLive.

When do I go to vote?

Polling stations will open their doors at 7am and continue to operate until 10pm. Those in line before 10pm will still be permitted to vote.

Registered voters should have received a polling card indicating their designated polling station.

Do I need to take ID to vote?

Indeed, voters will be required to present an accepted form of photo ID to the polling station staff prior to casting their vote. Acceptable forms of ID include passports, driving licences, blue badges, and certain travel passes.

A private area will be provided for those who wish to have their ID checked privately. Those without suitable ID could have applied for a Voter Authority Certificate as an alternative.

Individuals arriving at a polling station without ID will be asked to return with appropriate identification before receiving their ballot paper.

Where is my local polling station?

You can use the website https://wheredoivote.co.uk/ to find your local polling station.

My Voter Authority Certificate has not arrived, what do I do?

Those who applied for a Voter Authority Certificate but have yet to receive it can still vote. They will need to apply for a temporary certificate and are advised to reach out to the relevant election team for further guidance.

If I am wearing a face covering will I have to remove it to vote?

People will be required to remove any face coverings, such as medical masks or religious veils, for ID checks at polling stations. The Electoral Commission has stated that individuals can request a private ID check and, if possible, a female staff member to conduct the check.

A mirror should also be available at the polling station for people to reapply their face covering after their ID has been verified.

Do I need to bring a pen to vote?

Although pencils will be supplied at the polling station, voters are welcome to bring their own if they wish.

Do I need to bring my poll card with me?

Voters do not need to bring their polling card with them to vote. At the polling station, they will be asked for their name and address to verify their registration.

However, those who have registered to vote anonymously must present their poll card and an anonymous elector's document.

Can I bring my dog with me when I vote?

Dogs are not permitted inside the polling station and must be securely left outside while voting takes place. Assistance dogs, however, are allowed inside.

Can I take a selfie when I vote?

Photography is prohibited inside polling stations as it could compromise the secrecy of the ballot. However, photos can be taken outside the polling station.

What do I do if I cannot make it to the polling station?

Individuals unable to reach a polling station and who have not previously applied for a postal or proxy vote, may be eligible to apply for an emergency proxy vote. This applies to those experiencing a medical emergency, work-related travel, or issues with photo ID such as loss, theft, damage, or destruction.

Applications for emergency proxy votes can be made up until 5pm.