Thursday 23rd June 2016 is the day of the EU Referendum. Here’s our guide to what you can expect.
How do I register to vote?
You can register to vote quick and simply online. The form will only take a few minutes and will ask you for basic information about yourself – such as your name, date of birth and address. You might also need to give them your National Insurance Number if you know it.
You will also be asked if you want to vote in person, which will mean you have to go to your local polling station on the day or the referendum, or if you want to send your vote in the post.
You can also register to vote through the post.
If you want to vote in the EU referendum you must register by Tuesday 7th June. If you don’t register before this deadline you won’t be allowed to vote on the 23rd June.
If you were registered to vote in the May election then you don’t need to reregister for the EU referendum, unless your details have changed. So, for example, if you moved house or changed your name since then you will need to re-register.
If you are not sure whether you are registered to vote you can check by talking to your local electoral registration office. You can find out which office is the one you need and how to contact them here by putting in your postcode.
How do I vote in the referendum?
If you have registered as a postal voter you will receive your ballot card in the mail before the 23rd June. All you have to do is follow the instructions that come with it, seal up your vote in the secure envelope they give you and pop it back in the post. You should try to return your ballot as soon as possible, to make sure it gets back in time. For your vote to be counted it needs to be back with your local electoral office before 10pm on Thursday 23rd June.
If you forget to send your postal vote, don’t panic. You can take it to your local by handing it in to your local electoral authority on the day of the referendum.
If you haven’t received your ballot paper by Friday 17 June, or if you made a mistake and need a new one, contact your local council. You can get a replacement up to 5pm on polling day.
Voting in person
Most people go to a polling station to vote.
You should have received a poll card with details on where to vote in the post. You do not need to take your polling card with you to vote on the day of the referendum. If you’ve misplaced your poll card, you can check where you should go to vote on wheredoivote.wales. If you have not received a polling card, contact your local council to see if you’re still on the electoral roll. or if you put a mistake on it and need a new one.
When you go to the polling station you will be given your ballot paper, which will look like this:
When you have your ballot paper, head to a booth and put a cross in the box next to the ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’ option. You can also spoil your ballot if you so wish.
If you have a long-term reason why you cannot vote in person, you can get someone to vote for you; this is called voting by proxy and AboutMyVote has more info about it.
If something bad happens on the day (such as being taken seriously ill), you can apply to vote by proxy for medical reasons up until 5pm on polling day. Polling stations are open between 7am and 10pm.
Rules of the polling station
The staff at polling stations are there to ensure a fair vote, not to tell you off and most are friendly and welcoming. There are some rules though…
Election day staff are under instruction to be welcoming to children and young people. They may enter the polling station and if you have a lot of children with you, staff there can oversee them when you enter the voting booth. Your son or daughter is not allowed to draw the cross on your ballot paper for you, this is something you have to do.
You can take your dog in to a polling station, as long as they do not disrupt other people. You will have to leave the horse outside though. There’s no official guidance on cats, rabbits or goldfish.
If you need any advice, just ask the staff at the polling station. They are there to help you and will be happy to do so.
If you have a disability that makes it difficult for you to fill in your ballot, you can ask for help and the Presiding Officer can mark the ballot paper for you. You can also ask someone, such as a support worker or relative to help you – as long as they are either a relative or an eligible elector and have not already helped more than one other person vote.
If you have a visual impairment, you can ask to see a large print ballot paper or you can ask for a special voting device that allows you to vote on your own in secret.
How should I vote in the EU referendum?
In the EU referendum you will be asked ‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’ You’re choices will be to ‘leave the European Union’ or ‘Remain a member of the European Union’.
There are lots of arguements that have been made for each side but the BBC has produced a guide explaining what the European Union is, why a referendum is being held and what the basics arguments are.
Do you have any questions, advice or stories to share? Comment below or submit an article, we’d love to hear your views.
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