Published Wednesday, 26th April 2023
With only a few days left until Reigate & Banstead voters go to the polls on 4 May, we're urging voters to make sure they’re ready to vote with our guide to polling day.
For those voting in person at a polling station, remember to bring your photo ID with you, or you won’t be able to vote. This is a new requirement under the Elections Act. To check which forms of photo ID you can use, visit the Electoral Commission’s website at: electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID.
You don’t need ID to vote by post, but if you have a proxy vote, where someone you trust votes on your behalf, your proxy will need to ensure they have their photo ID with them.
Use your vote
Mari Roberts-Wood, Electoral Registration Officer for Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, said: “Local elections are an important opportunity to have your say on who represents you and makes decisions about issues that directly affect day-to-day life where you live, so make sure you use your vote.
“If you’re voting in person, don’t forget to bring your photo ID because you’ll need it to able to cast your vote. Also check the information on your poll card before going to vote in case your polling station has changed since the last election. You do not need your poll card to vote, but it helps if you bring it with you to make the process quicker.
"Take a look at our polling day guide, which has the answers to some of the other questions we are most commonly asked.”
A guide to polling day
Here is a useful guide to what you can expect when voting on 4 May, answering some of the most common questions we get asked.
Voting in person at a polling station
Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday 4 May.
If you’re voting in person, you must show an eligible form of photo ID to be able to vote. To check which forms of photo ID you can use, visit the Electoral Commission’s website: electoralcommission.org.uk/voterID. If you get to the polling station and have forgotten or don't have a valid form of ID, you will be asked to return with ID that is accepted, so make sure you leave plenty of time before the polls close.
There will be a private area for people to show their identity if needed, such as those who wear face coverings.
In person voters will be sent a poll card in run up to the election day which will tell them which polling station to go to to cast their vote. Make sure you check yours before heading out, in case you polling station has changed since the last time you voted.
People who registered to vote before 9 March will have received their poll cards at the end of March. For those who registered between 9 March and the registration deadline of 17 April, poll cards were sent on 21 April. If you have not received your poll card by polling day you will still be able to vote as long as you bring an accepted form of photo ID.
How to find your polling station
Your polling station will be listed on your poll card. You can also find your polling station by entering your postcode into the ‘Where I Live’ search on our website.
You need to go to your designated polling station; you can’t go to a different one, for example, near where you work.
How to complete your ballot papers
Take your time: read the ballot papers carefully and complete them in line with the instructions. Don't write anything else on the paper, or your vote may be spoiled and not counted.
If you make a mistake, as long as you haven't already put it in the ballot box, just let the polling station staff know and they can give you a replacement ballot paper.
Once you're done, fold your completed ballot paper in half and put it in the ballot box on the desk beside the poll clerks.
Staff will be on hand at polling stations to assist voters with any questions about filling out their ballot paper.
If you need help
Our polling stations have ramps, wheelchair accessible polling booths and visual aids. Polling station staff will be on hand to help anyone who needs it, and carers or support workers can also help. Assistance dogs are welcome too.
If you have a visual impairment, you can ask for a large print ballot paper to refer to when you cast your vote, or a special tactile voting device to enable you to mark your ballot paper on your own.
Coming with family, friends, children or your dog?
You can go to the polling station with whomever you like, but only those adults registered to vote at that station will be able to go inside.
Children are welcome. While your child must not mark the ballot paper for you, you can take them into the polling booth with you.
You must not be accompanied into the polling booth by another adult, unless you have a disability, in which case you can take someone in to help you, or you can ask one of the polling station staff for their help.
Animals, apart from assistance dogs, are not usually allowed inside, so will need to be secured outside if you do decide to take them with you. We love a #dogsatpollingstations and #petsatpollingstations photo, so if you take one, do tag us on social media @reigatebanstead and we’ll share the best ones.
Tellers might be outside the polling station and ask you for the number on your poll card. They are volunteering on behalf of candidates or parties and use the information to check who has voted, and to remind people who haven't yet voted, to do so.
They are allowed to be there and to ask for the information, but you don't have to give it to them if you don’t want to. If you are concerned about the conduct of a teller, speak to a member of polling station staff.
Photos or selfies
You’re not allowed to take photos inside the polling station as it puts the secrecy of the ballot at risk. You are welcome to take photos outside the polling station and share them on social media to let others know you’ve voted and encourage them to vote too.
Should I tell anyone who I voted for?
Your vote is yours and yours alone: you do not need to tell anyone how you voted.
Exit polls are sometimes conducted - usually by private companies working for newspapers or broadcasters - to ask voters who they voted for to help them predict what the outcome might be. You do not need to answer their questions if you don’t want to.
Political discussion is not allowed inside and immediately around the polling station so that there is no risk of influencing other voters. If you want to debate your vote with friends or family, please do it away from the polling station.
Voting by post
Voters who have opted to vote by post should make sure they return their postal ballot in good time. If you didn’t get around to posting yours in time, you can hand it in at your polling station or hand deliver it to the Town Hall, Reigate, up until 10pm on polling day. You can find your polling station by entering your postcode into the ‘Where I Live’ search on our website.
If you need help completing your postal vote, watch our ‘how to’ video.
Postal voters are not affected by the new Voter ID rules and will be issued with their postal ballot papers as usual. Postal vote packs were mailed out on 19 April to people who had an existing postal vote or applied before 5 April. Remaining postal votes applied for up until the deadline on 18 April will be mailed out on 24 April.
Voting by proxy
If you’re voting on behalf of someone else as their proxy, remember that you need to go to their polling station to do so, rather than yours, and you will need to take your own photo ID to the polling station to be able to vote.
How you can vote if you are unwell
If you become unwell or an emergency means that you cannot get to a polling station to vote, you don’t need to miss out on your vote. You can apply for an emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day, so someone you can trust can vote on your behalf. You can arrange it by calling our elections line on 01737 276794 or email email@example.com to request an application form.
To find out more about voting visit: www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter.
For more information about the forthcoming elections and to find out who is standing in your area visit www.reigate-banstead.gov.uk/elections-2023.
If after reading this you still have questions you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call our elections helpline on 01737 276794.