Make Sure You Get to Vote in the General Election – There Are Many Ways!

Posted on: 10th November 2019

There are many ways to vote in elections these days, and many mean you do not have to risk walking to a polling station on a wet winters day. Make sure you are able to vote in the General Election in whatever way is easiest for you.

With a general election now set for December 12, Cornwall Council is encouraging residents to register to vote by November 26 and make sure their voices are heard.

It takes about five minutes to register on the government’s website, or you can register by post.

Cornwall Council Chief Executive and Acting Returning Officer, Kate Kennally, said: “Our elections team is busy preparing for the recently called General Election and they are making sure necessary arrangements are in place for Thursday, December 12.

“We will be ready for the election, but we want to make sure that our residents are too. Don’t lose this opportunity to have your say. This is an important moment, and you have until November 26 to register to vote.

“You can do this online at and the full details are on Cornwall Council’s website. Make your voice count.”

Who is eligible to vote in a general election?

To vote in a UK general election you must:

  • Be 18 or over on the day of the election.
  • Be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen.
  • Be resident at an address in the UK (or a British citizen living abroad who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years).
  • Not be legally excluded from voting.

You also need to be on the electoral register. You only have to register once, but will need to re-register if you have changed your address, name or nationality since you first registered. In order to vote in this general election you must apply to be registered by Tuesday, November 26.

The forms can be completed online. If you need help, you should contact Cornwall Council’s Electoral Registration Office.

How can I register if I need to?

By visiting and filling out the relevant forms. Alternatively, you can register by post. Download the forms here:

I’m a student. Where do I register to vote?

If you’re a student you can register to vote at both your home and term-time addresses, but you can only vote once in a general election.

Thursday, December 12 is close to when term finishes, so you might already have travelled home, but there is nothing stopping you applying for a postal vote in your university constituency if you want to vote there.

Voting at your local polling station

Details of your nearest polling station will be shown on the back of your polling card, which you will receive in the post from mid-November.

What should I do if I can’t vote in person on December 12?

There are two ways to vote if you can’t be there to vote in person on the day of an election – with either a postal vote or a proxy vote. To apply for a postal or proxy vote you must already be registered to vote and on the electoral roll.

The deadline to apply for a new postal vote, or amend or cancel an existing postal vote, is 5pm on Tuesday, November 26.

Voting by proxy

A proxy vote means someone can vote on your behalf. Anyone can act as your proxy provided they’re registered to vote and allowed to vote in the same type of election.

You need to apply for a proxy vote at least six working days before election day. Electoral Services must receive your application to vote by proxy by 5pm on Wednesday, December 4.

You may wish to vote by proxy because:

  • You’ll be away.
  • You’ll be at work.
  • You’ll be attending a course.
  • You’re disabled.
  • You’re living overseas.
  • You’re serving overseas as a member of the armed forces.
  • You’re a British Council employee or Crown servant (for example diplomatic or overseas civil service).

If you currently vote by post but want to switch to proxy voting, you must tell Electoral Services in writing before 5pm on November 26.

Voting by post

Anyone registered to vote in an election can apply for a postal vote. You don’t need to give a reason. You just need to fill in a form and then send it to the Electoral Registration Office by 5pm on November 26.

How can I check if I am registered to vote?

Every local authority holds the electoral register for their area. You can contact Cornwall Council’s Electoral Registration Office and they will let you know if you are registered.

Contact the Registration Office by email at, over the phone on 0300 123 1115, or in writing at Cornwall Council Electoral Services, St Austell One Stop Shop, 29 Penwinnick Road, St Austell. PL25 5DR.