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Electoral Registration

Who can vote?

You are eligible to vote if:

  • You are 18 or over
  • You have an address in the place you want to vote (i.e. an address in Manchester)
  • You have photo ID (voting in person only)
  • A UK or Irish citizen
  • An EU citizen
  • A qualifying Commonwealth citizen living in the UK

How do I vote?

You need to register to vote in order to have your say in the upcoming elections. Even if you think you have registered before it is worth checking, as you will need to register if:

  • You’ve never registered before
  • You’ve changed address since the last time you registered (e.g. you moved from your family home to student accommodation, from halls to private accommodation, or moved house between second and third year)
  • You’ve changed your name

You can register to vote here:

In order to register to vote you will need your National Insurance Number – if you don’t know it you can look it up here:

Can I be registered to vote at my home address and my term-time address?

Students can be registered to vote at both their home and term-time addresses, however this doesn’t necessarily mean you get two votes.

You will need to choose one address and vote in only that area when you’re voting in:

  • UK Parliament elections
  • UK referendums
  • London Assembly and London Mayoral elections

You can’t vote at both your term-time address and your home address at these elections. Voting in more than one location is a criminal offence.

For other elections you can vote at both your term-time and your home address.

You can choose to vote in either or both areas (as long as the addresses are in different council areas) when you’re voting in:

  • Local council elections in England
  • Police and Crime commissioner elections and mayoral elections

Make sure you understand the rules for the election you are voting in.

I won’t be in Manchester on election day, what should I do?

You can register for a proxy or postal vote if you won’t be able to vote on the day. A proxy vote is means you appoint someone you trust to vote at the polling station on your behalf, whereas with a postal vote you’ll receive and submit your ballot paper by post. You can read more and register for one of these services here:

Do I need ID to vote?

Yes – you are now required to show photographic ID when voting in person at a polling station.

A full list of accepted forms of photo ID can be found here:

You only need to show one form of ID, and it must be the original version (i.e. no photocopies or photographs of the document).

You can used your current photo ID if it’s out of date, as long as the photograph still looks like you and the name matches the one you used when you registered to vote.

If you don’t have an accepted form of photo ID, you don’t think the photo looks like you, or have any other concerns such as having changed your name or the ID using a gender marker then you can apply for a free voter ID document known as a Voter Authority Certificate. You can find out more about this here:


I’ve never been to a polling station before, what will happen?

Voting is really important, and we understand that it might be a bit scary if you’ve never done it before, but it’s actually a really simple process.

Once you’ve registered to vote you will receive your polling card through the post. This will tell you what date and time you are able to vote, and where your polling station is. You don’t need to take your polling card with you to vote, but it can be helpful for the staff if you do.

Polling stations are where you go to cast your vote – they are often public buildings such as schools, libraries or village halls and you don’t usually have to travel very far to get there.

Your polling station will be open from 7am to 10pm on election day, so even if you have work or uni you should be able to make it.

When you arrive there will be signs telling you where to go, and people who work for the Returning Office for your local council will be inside. They will ask for your name and address so that they can confirm you’re registered, and then for your photo ID.

You will receive a number of ballot paper depending on how many elections you are voting in, and you then take these to a polling booth. These are set up so that you can cast your vote in secret, and usually involve a small desk with screens on three sides.

Take your time to read your ballot papers properly, and then mark your paper with an X where indicated. You must not use a tick or write anything else anywhere on the paper, as this will void your vote and it won’t be counted.

Once you’ve marked all of your ballot papers, fold each of them in half and put it in the ballot box – this will be clearly labelled and obviously placed, but if you’re not sure just ask a member of staff.

Remember to be respectful of other voters and their privacy, and to follow all the rules inside the polling station.

Still have questions? Contact our Student Services team for advice.