We believe everyone, whether they’re of voting age or not, should have access to accessible, high quality political information. That’s why, as part of our campaign ‘Let’s Get Loud’, we’ve created this Voter Hub. The more information we have, the more confident we can be at the ballot box. Let's get loud, and ensure our voices get heard!


How do I register to vote?

Registering to vote is quick, easy and you can do it in a matter of minutes. In England, you have to be 16 or over; in Scotland and Wales, you have to be 14 or over.

You also have to be:

  • a British citizen

  • an Irish or EU citizen living in the UK

  • a Commonwealth citizen who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permissiona citizen of another country living in Scotland or Wales who has permission to enter or stay in the UK, or who does not need permission

You can register with your details, or anonymously.

What details you need to give

  • Nation: You need pick England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland

  • Nationality: You need to pick British, Irish, or Citizen of a different country

  • Date of birth: You need to enter the day, month, and year

  • Full name: Your first and last name, and whether you’ve ever changed your name

  • National Insurance Number: This is optional, but if you don’t provide it, you will have to explain why, and send copies of identity documents. This could delay registration

  • UK Postcode and Address: So they can send you key documents

  • Whether you also live at a second address: As a student, you may have two different addresses, i.e. home and term time addresses

  • Whether you have permanently moved out of another address in the last 12 months: This is so they can remove you from an address you may have lived in before

  • Whether you would like to opt out of the ‘open register’: There are two versions of the electoral register, the full version and the open version. You can opt out of the open register, which is available to any person, company or organisation who would like to buy a copy.

  • Whether you would like to apply for a postal vote: You can vote in person, or let them know that you’d like a postal vote application form

  • A contact number or email: If they need further information, you can provide your details so your local council can contact you.

Voter ID

When you go to cast your vote, you will need a type of photo ID, to verify who you are. The name on your ID and your name on the electoral register must be the same, and you can use your ID even if it has expired. You can use any of these:

  • a UK or Northern Ireland photocard driving licence (full or provisional)

  • a driving licence issued by the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Isle of Man or any of the Channel Islands

  • a UK passport

  • a passport issued by the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or a Commonwealth country

  • a PASS card (National Proof of Age Standards Scheme)

  • a Blue Badge

  • a biometric residence permit (BRP)

  • a Defence Identity Card (MOD form 90)

  • a national identity card issued by the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein

  • a Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card

  • a Voter Authority Certificate

  • an Anonymous Elector’s Document

Unfortunately, student or young person’s railcards are not accepted as Voter ID. A list of travelcards that are accepted can be found here:

Don’t have any of these? Don’t worry, the National Union of Students has teamed up with CitizenCard to provide a free voter ID if you live in England, Scotland or Wales. All you have to do is use the code “NUS”.

If you’re not eligible for any of these, or you have an ID with a different name or a photo that doesn’t look like you, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. These can only be used in some elections and referendums in England, Scotland and Wales, and are not valid IDs for anything else. It is free to apply for, and you’ll need two things:

  • A recent digital photo

  • National Insurance number (if not this, then other documents to prove your identity)

What is a Manifesto?

A manifesto is a set of policies released by a political party before a General Election, to show voters what they might expect from that party in government. It may outline their beliefs, their ideas about the problems in the UK, and how they plan to fix them. 

Political parties use different methods to create manifestos. Some may ask their members to vote for policies to include, others may hire researchers to write them. What manifestos have in common is that they bring issues to national attention, so people make their decisions about how to vote. The leader of each party presents the manifesto, and before elections, will answer questions and try to promote it. 

When a political party wins a general election and forms a government, they will refer back to the issues they’ve raised in the manifesto.

Where can I find a political party’s Manifesto?

Manifestos can be found on the website of a political party. Generally, they are updated and released in the run up to a General Election.

UK Parliament has not passed a law making Manifestos legally binding, which means a political party does not have to enact on policy’s it’s outlined within it. Some view this as a contentious issue, citing changes in Manifesto policy as a breach of trust.

General Elections

The UK Parliament is the body that makes laws on different topics. There are two Houses, which each scrutinise and pass laws. The House of Commons is elected, and the House of Lords is unelected. 

The House of Commons is where your Member of Parliament sits. They will represent a constituency area, and they are accountable to their constituents. The House of Lords contains more than 700 unelected members, who are called ‘Peers”. There are two types of peers, hereditary or life peers. Hereditary means that they inherited their seat, while life peers are appointed based on a number of things, by politicians. 

There are a number of different elections in the UK, and people can be eligible for different ones. 

A General Election will elect the UK Parliament, and they normally take place once every 5 years, but they can be called earlier for different reasons. 

To vote in a general election, there are a few things you have to check: 

  • Are you registered to vote?

  • Are you over 18?

  • Are you a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth citizen?

  • Are you resident at an address in the UK, or a British citizen living abroad but registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years)

  • Are you legally excluded from voting? (Members of the House of Lords, EU citizens, convicted people, those who engage in corruption or illegality in elections)

During a general election, you will vote for a Member of Parliament for your constituency (area), using the First Past The Post system. This means that you vote once, and the candidate with the highest numbers of votes wins. After an election, the party with the most MPs is asked by the King to form a government and become the Prime Minister. 

The party with the second highest number of MPs elected becomes the official Opposition.

Local elections

Every year, you may hear of areas across the UK taking part in local elections. They take place every 4 years, but at different times. Local governments will either: 

  • Elect all councillors once every 4 years 

  • Elect half of the councillors every 2 years

  • Elect a third of the councillors every year for 3 years

Similarly to general elections, you have to be registered to vote, be 18 in England or 16 in Scotland and Wales, be registered at an address in the area you are voting in, and not be legally excluded.

There are two types of election systems that happen locally. The First Past The Post system in England and Wales means that the councillors who get the most votes will win. However, in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the Single Transferable Vote system is used. In these elections, voters will rank the candidates according to their preference.

Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Parliament is the representative body for the people of Scotland. It has the power to make decisions and pass laws, like the UK Parliament, however this is only in certain matters (devolved). There are some issues where the UK Parliament will still make laws for Scotland. Normally, they will get the consent of the Scottish Parliament. These issues are known as reserved matters. . 

To vote in the Scottish Parliament elections, you must be registered to vote at an address in Scotland, be 16 years old, and not be legally excluded from voting. There are 129 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), and the Additional Member voting system is used. This is where you vote twice. Firstly, you vote for a constituency MSP, and then for an MSP to represent the region. The 8 regions are: 

  • Central Scotland

  • Glasgow

  • Highlands and Islands

  • Lothian

  • Mid Scotland and Fife

  • North East Scotland

  • South Scotland

  • West Scotland

Welsh Parliament (Senedd Cymru)

The Senedd is the representative body for the people of Wales. Like the Scottish Parliament, it has powers to make decisions on devolved matters, such as education, health and culture. 

To vote, you must be registered, be 16 years old or over, live in Wales, and not be legally excluded from voting. In total, there are 60 Members of the Senedd (MSs), who are elected using the Additional Member voting system. This is where you vote twice, once for your constituency, and once for your region. The 5 regions are: 

  • North Wales

  • Mid and West Wales

  • South Wales East

  • South Wales West

  • South Wales Central

Northern Ireland Assembly 

The Northern Ireland Assembly is the representative body for the people of Northern Ireland. Like the Scottish Parliament and the Senedd, the Assembly can make decisions on devolved matters, while the UK Parliament keeps responsibility for reserved and excepted matters. 

In total, there are 90 Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in the Northern Ireland Assembly, representing 18 constituencies. The voting system is by SIngle Transferable Vote, and five MLAs are elected for each constituency. 

To vote, you must be registered, be 18 or over, be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth or EU citizen, be registered at an address in the area you’re voting in, and not be legally excluded from voting. 

If you’re not sure about which elections you can vote in, the government has written up a list here.