People in Scotland warned of general election voting rules as deadline weeks away

Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, soaked in rain, pauses as he delivers a speech to announce July 4 as the date of the UK's next general election, at 10 Downing Street in central London, on May 22, 2024. UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday set a general election date for July 4, ending months of speculation about when he would go to the country. The vote -- the third since the Brexit referendum in 2016 and the first in July since 1945 -- comes as Sunak seeks to capitalise on better economic data to woo voters hit by cost-of-living rises. (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS / AFP) (Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images)

Scots are being warned to read up on the rules this year ahead of the general election.

Scotland’s national advice agency, Advice Direct Scotland (ADS), are urging people to be aware of the voting rules with the registration deadline already less than a month away.

If you are voting in the election on July 4, you need to register before midnight on Tuesday, June 18. ADS is also reminding Scots who will be abroad on the day of the election - or supporting the national team at Euro 2024 in Germany - that they can switch to a postal or proxy vote.

How can I vote in the 2024 general election?

General Election 2024 written on a sign with Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben in the background
The General Election 2024 is happening this July -Credit:Getty

To be allowed to vote, people must be aged 18 or over on the day of the election and be a British citizen, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen or a citizen of the Republic of Ireland.

You will also need to have registered to vote by the deadline. People can register to vote through the UK Government website here using their national insurance number

Once registered to vote, you can vote in person at a polling station, cast a postal vote or assign a proxy voter to fill out a ballot on your behalf.

How do I get a postal vote in Scotland for the July 2024 election?

With the election occurring in July when many may be on holiday, people can instead cast a postal vote. You can read here how to apply.

What about proxy voting?

The deadline is 5pm on June 26
The deadline is 5pm on June 26 -Credit:Getty

Proxy voting is available to people who are away on polling day, are registered as overseas voters, have medical issues or disabilities, or are unavailable due to work or military service.

The person casting the vote in their name will have to be registered to vote in the election and should be known and trusted by the person they are voting for.

People who would like to vote by proxy can apply online on the UK Government website, or by post. The deadline is 5pm on June 26.

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Will I need ID for the July 2024 election?

Yes, you will need ID. For the first time at a UK general election, people voting at a polling station will need to show photo identification.

What are valid forms of ID?

You can use:

  • 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

You can also use one of the following travel passes as photo ID when you vote:

What do I do if I have no photo ID?

ASD stress that people who don't have any form of photo ID can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate for free through the UK Government website. The deadline to do this is 5pm on June 26.

Andrew Bartlett, chief executive of Advice Direct Scotland, said: “Rishi Sunak’s decision to call a general election on July 4 has taken a lot of people by surprise, so it’s important that Scots are prepared and not caught out by voting rules.

“The key things for people to remember is that they have to be on the electoral register to cast a vote and will need to bring a suitable form of ID with them to the polling station.

“Given that this is a summer election and takes place during the school holidays, thousands of people will also be abroad on polling day – but this doesn’t mean they can’t vote.

“We would urge holidaymakers and members of the Tartan Army who will be in Germany for Euro 2024 to switch to a postal or proxy ballot, so they can still exercise their democratic rights."

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