General Election in the UK What You Need to Know

General Election in the UK: What You Need to Know

Get ready for the UK general election 2024! Learn how to vote, from polling stations to postal and proxy voting, in our easy-to-follow guide.



On Thursday, 4 July 2024, adults across the UK will head to the polls to vote in the general election. 

This significant event will see the election of Members of Parliament (MPs) who will represent their respective constituencies in the UK Parliament in London. 

Here’s a detailed guide on how the voting process works and what to expect on election day.


Who Can Vote?

In the UK, citizens can vote in general elections once they turn 18. For the upcoming 2024 election, it’s crucial that eligible voters are registered by 18 June. According to the Electoral Commission, only the following individuals are eligible to vote:

  • British citizens
  • Qualifying Commonwealth citizens
  • Republic of Ireland citizens with a UK address

British citizens living abroad can also register to vote, provided they are not legally excluded from voting.


How to Vote in a General Election

There are three primary ways to cast your vote:

  1. In a Polling Station
  2. By Post
  3. Voting by Proxy

Voting in a Polling Station

Voting at a polling station is the most common method. Here’s what happens inside:

  • Polling stations are often set up in places like schools or community centers.
  • Voters need to present a valid photo ID, such as a passport or driving license.
  • They receive a ballot paper listing all the candidates.
  • Voting is done in a private booth to ensure confidentiality.
  • Voters mark their choice with a cross next to their preferred candidate’s name.
  • The completed ballot paper is placed in a sealed ballot box for collection and counting.

What is a Postal Vote?

For those who prefer not to visit a polling station, postal voting is an option. Voters must register for a postal vote in advance. They will receive a ballot paper by mail, which must be completed and returned by the specified deadline before the general election day.


What is Voting by Proxy?

Voting by proxy allows a designated person to vote on behalf of another. The voter must register for proxy voting and instruct their chosen proxy on how to vote. The proxy then goes to the polling station to cast the vote.


Counting the Votes

The counting of votes is a critical part of the election process. Here’s how it works:

  • Votes are gathered at a counting center, typically a large venue like a leisure center or community hall.
  • Counting begins immediately after the polling stations close.
  • The process can take all night, with some areas striving to announce results as quickly as possible.
  • Once all votes are counted, the total is announced, revealing the new MP for the constituency.

Key Information at a Glance

Election Date4 July 2024
Registration Deadline18 June 2024
Voting MethodsIn a polling station, by post, by proxy
Who Can VoteBritish citizens, qualifying Commonwealth citizens, Republic of Ireland citizens with UK address
Photo ID RequirementPassport, driving licence
Vote CountingBegins immediately after polling stations close


The general election is a pivotal event that shapes the UK’s political landscape. 

By understanding the voting process and key deadlines, voters can ensure their voices are heard. 

Whether voting in person, by post, or by proxy, every vote counts towards electing the representatives who will shape the future of the UK. 

Make sure to register and exercise your right to vote on 4 July 2024.


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