United Kingdom

Election 2021: Can I vote without my polling card?

On Thursday 6 May millions of people will able to vote in elections taking place across England, Scotland and Wales.

Here are some of your questions.

Am I allowed to bring my children when I vote? Tim Kingston Hepner, East Herts

Bringing children to the polling station is encouraged, because it can educate them about democracy.

However, a child is not allowed to mark your vote on the ballot paper!

I’ve lost my voting card, can I vote? Paul Jeremy Moore, Flackwell Heath

Yes – you can still turn up to the polling station and vote.

Anyone who is registered to vote should have received a polling card in the post – this tells you where your local polling station is.

However, you do not have to bring it with you (although it can speed the process up if you do).

Is it too late to send off my postal vote? Finn, Tunbridge Wells

The deadline to apply for a postal vote has now passed.

But if you’re worried about your completed postal vote not arriving in time, you can hand it in at your local polling station before voting closes at 22.00 BST on Thursday.

Alternatively, you can take it to your local electoral registration office before it closes on Thursday.

image copyrightReuters

When will the results be in? Ruth Yarwood, Anglesey

Counting will be unusual this year because of the Covid pandemic, and will last several days.

Some counts, like the Hartlepool by-election, will take place overnight on Thursday night/Friday morning.

We will also know all the results for the Welsh Senedd on Friday.

Scotland starts counting in some areas on Friday and the final results are expected on Saturday.

English council votes will be spread over four days from Thursday night until Sunday.

A dozen of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England won’t count until Monday.

Will there be an exit poll for the Scottish Election? Richard Innes, Inverness

Exit polls are used to help predict who will win a general election. They work by surveying voters as they leave polling stations.

There won’t be one in Scotland but that’s not because of the pandemic.

It has more to do with the complexity of the Scottish election, which – unlike the UK general election – is not simply “first past the post”.

Prof Sir John Curtice will be monitoring the results as they come in for the BBC, but you’ll have to wait until the weekend for the final results.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionBringing children to the polling station is encouraged

Will I be able to watch the results live on Thursday night? Gabriel Beck, Eastbourne

The count will be slower in many areas because of Covid restrictions.

The BBC News Channel will have live coverage of the Hartlepool by-election result, which is expected to be declared at some point in the early hours of Friday morning.

However, the BBC’s Election 2021 results programmes will be as follows:

The BBC News Channel will also carry coverage throughout the weekend, and the BBC News website will provide live results, analysis and updates.

I am registered as an overseas voter. Why have I not received a ballot paper? Hugh Morgan, Thailand

If you’re a British citizen living abroad, you’re entitled to vote in UK parliamentary elections but you cannot vote in local elections.

This rule also applies to the Welsh and Scottish Parliament elections.

Why are there no elections in Northern Ireland? Andy

Elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly are scheduled to take place next year, which will be five years after the 2017 elections.

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