Local Elections 2018 FAQ
Today is the local elections day in several parts of the UK. According to the BBC around 150 councils are up for grabs this year. Below is some of the key information if you're going to be voting.
Where can I vote?
If you're trying to figure out where to vote you can go to the website wheredoivote.co.uk and enter your postcode for the location of your local polling station.
Who can I vote for?
If you're not sure who you can vote for in your area then whocanivotefor.co.uk may come in handy.
What am I voting for?
The local elections may have national significance because of what messages they will be sending out but they will not be sending any more MP's into parliament and have far less national significance than general elections. You are voting for representatives in your local community who generally concern themselves with "day-to-day stuff in your area, such as bin collections, roads and local parks" as the BBC put it.
When can I vote?
Polling stations are open from 7 am to 10 pm on the day of the election so you have plenty of time to vote however if you're planning to vote don't turn up too late, in the past some people have been turned away due to long queues and insufficient staffing. Having said that the queues are likely to be fairly short as turnout in local elections is normally far lower than in national ones.
Do I need my ID when voting?
You do not need an ID or polling card unless you are voting in Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford or Woking due to a trial being conducted there by the government this year. The requirements vary between those constituencies so check the government or local councils website for more details.
What can I do in the polling station?
When you enter the station tell the staff there your name and address. They will then give you your voting card. Take this into one of the voting booths and clearly mark your preferred candidates. You may pick up to three, how you distribute your vote is up to you. You do not need to stick with just one party. You do not need to mark your vote with an X, a tick any other clear mark will do. The only requirement is that it is unambiguous who you have voted for. If you would like to spoil your ballot by writing "none of the above" or something ruder feel free to do so. Your vote will be tallied up with the rest but it will not count for any of the candidates.
You must not sign your ballot or vote for more than 3 candidates. Doing so will void your vote. You must not talk about politics in the polling station and you are not allowed to let anyone else write the X for you on your voting paper unless you have a disability which makes that impossible. Only candidates and their agents may wear rosettas and you may not wear political t-shirts related to the local election.
Do not ask anyone who they voted for in the station and don't let anyone see your ballot paper. Taking selfies in the voting booth is not banned but it is discouraged because it may accidentally reveal who you or others voted for which carries the potential for a £5000 fine so take your selfies outside.
You can take your pets to the polling station but unless they are guide dogs or other working animals it's probably best to leave them outside.
Can Bernie Sanders still win this?
I mean... seeing as he is an American politician and these are local elections in the UK I'm going to go with probably no.