Four University of Portsmouth students talking

Elections and voting

Register to vote in national and local elections

A General Election has been called for Thursday 4 July 2024. The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday 18 June.

Register to vote now

Having your say on local and national issues that affect you is important. 

Voting is a crucial way to make your voice heard and comment on the policies that will continue to shape the country for years to come. The Electoral Commission's website explains how UK Parliament, elections and voting work.

Are you registered to vote?

  • It's quick, easy and you can do it online
  • Students can and should register both at home and at university. You may only vote in one place for general elections and in both places for local elections.

Register to vote

Why you should vote

Voting in national and local elections is important because:

  • Policies created by local MPs, the government and the local council can have a big impact on your daily life
  • You can be part of electing a party you think best represents your views
  • Being registered to vote helps to improve your credit score

You can find out when your next elections are, your polling station information, and more on the Electoral Commission website.

Voter ID

Voters in England now need to show photo ID to vote at polling stations in elections. Accepted forms of identification include your passport, drivers licence or a PASS card. The full list can be found online. If you don't have an accepted form of photo ID you can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate.

Elections and voting

Elections have different rules on who can vote, depending on things like your citizenship and how long you've lived in the country.


For a general election, you must:

  • Be registered to vote in the constituency
  • Be 18 years old (or over) on the day of the election vote (known as 'polling day').
  • Be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen
  • Be resident at an address in the UK or Gibraltar, or living abroad and registered as an overseas voter
  • Not be legally excluded from voting
  • Possess a valid form of photo ID (when voting in person)


For a local election, you must:

  • Be registered at an address in the area you want to vote in
  • Be 18 years old (or over) on the day of the election vote (known as 'polling day').
  • Be a British, qualifying Commonwealth or EU citizen
  • Be resident at an address in the area you wish to vote in
  • Not be legally excluded from voting
  • Possess a valid form of photo ID (when voting in person)

You can register to vote through the Government website. You will need to provide your name, any previous name, address in Portsmouth (including postcode), home address (including postcode), date of birth, national insurance number (which can be found on your national insurance card or official paperwork such as payslips) and a few other details. You may also need your passport.

Once you've been successfully registered, it will be confirmed in writing.

If you need help you can call the Portsmouth voter registration helpline on +44 (0)23 9283 4074 or visit the Portsmouth City Council website.

You can vote in 3 ways:

  • In person, at the polling station on Election Day
  • By post, before the election
  • By proxy, if you want someone else to cast your vote on your behalf

How you vote is up to you. Most people vote at a polling station.

Voters must bring a form of photo identification to the polling station. Check if your photo ID is accepted. If you do not possess an accepted form of ID, you can apply for a free voter ID document.

If you are not able to go to the polling station on election day, you can apply to vote by post or by proxy - but you need to do this before election day. More information on the ways to vote is on the Government website.

Disabled voters can:

  • Ask the person in charge at the polling station (the Presiding Officer), to mark the ballot paper for them.
  • Bring someone to the polling station to help them vote (this person must be an immediate family member over 18 years old, or someone else who is registered to vote)
  • Use a Braille plastic device that is fixed onto the ballot paper to help them vote
  • See a large-print version of the ballot paper

If your home and university addresses are in two different local authority areas, you can vote in local elections in both areas.

However, even if you are registered in two areas – at home and at university – you can only vote in one at a UK general election. It is a criminal offence to vote twice in a UK general election.

To find out if you are already registered to vote, contact your local Electoral Registration Office. In Portsmouth you can contact the election services team on

When you move house or flat, you should update your details by registering to vote at your new address.