Voting as a student
As a student living away from home, you may be eligible to register your vote in UK elections and referendums. This is an important right for you and lets you be part of the democratic process.
To register to vote, you must be:
- a UK or Irish citizen
- a qualifying Commonwealth citizen living in the UK
- an EU citizen living in the UK
- aged 16 or over (but you can’t vote until you’re 18 years old).
Find out more on the Electoral Commission website.
Register to vote
In order to take part in both local and national elections, you will need to be on the electoral register, which you can do via the GOV.UK website.
Registering to vote – and joining what is often referred to as the electoral roll – has other useful benefits. For example, if you want to rent property, apply for a mobile phone contract, or sign up for a credit card, it really helps if you are on the electoral roll.
Even if you are not interested in voting, you are still required to register.
It’s possible that you will already be registered on the electoral roll at your home address. However, as a student, you are entitled to register at your term-time address too. If your home and term-time addresses are in two different local authority areas, you can vote at local council elections both here in Nottingham and at your permanent residence.
However, even if you are registered in two areas (at home and university), you can only vote at one location in what’s known as a general election. This is the process by which you choose your Member of Parliament (MP), who will represent your local area (or constituency) in the House of Commons for up to five years. Please be aware that it is a criminal offence to vote twice in a UK general election.
More information about the types of elections you can take part in as a student is available on the Electoral Commission website.
If you are not sure if you are already registered to vote, you can check by getting in touch with your local authority. It's also possible to enter your postcode to find your local electoral registration office.
From 4 May 2023, you will need to show photo ID to vote at polling stations in some elections. This will also apply to UK General elections from October 2023.
You may already hold an acceptable form of photo ID. These include:
- a passport issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, a British Overseas Territory, an EEA state, or a Commonwealth country
- a driving licence issued by the UK, any of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, or an EEA state (this includes a provisional driving licence)
- a Blue Badge
- an identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a PASS card).
If you don't have an acceptable form of photo ID, you can apply for a free voter ID document, known as a Voter Authority Certificate.
Find out more about accepted forms of photo ID
Find out more about Applying for a Voter Authority Certificate
How to vote
If you choose to vote in person, you will need to go to the polling station allocated to you. This is based on your address on the electoral register.
Your polling station will be on your poll card, which you'll receive through the post a few weeks before polling day. You can enter your postcode to find contact details for the electoral services team at your local council and the location of your polling station.
Voting by post
If you aren’t able to get to your polling station on polling day, it is possible to vote by post. To do this, you will need to apply in advance for a postal vote application form.
Voting by proxy
You can ask someone you trust to cast your vote for you. This is called a proxy vote.
If you nominate a proxy, the person you choose to vote on your behalf will need to show their own photo ID to cast your vote. They will not need to show your ID.