Local elections: What you can and can't do in a polling station

·SEO Editor, Yahoo UK
·2 min read

Watch: Eustice on cost-of-living crisis: We've done all we can for now

Boris Johnson is facing a potentially difficult set of local elections as the UK heads to the polls on Thursday, May 5.

The prime minister is grappling with the cost-of-living crisis and the fallout from "Partygate" as voters prepare to cast their ballots.

Council seats are up for grabs in Scotland, Wales, London and parts of England, while Northern Ireland will elect a new assembly.

As with all elections, there will be special regulations in place on polling day. Here are the key rules to be aware of.

You can't take a selfie while voting

Voters can't take photos inside polling stations because it "might risk the secrecy of the ballot", according to the Electoral Commission.

You are free to take photos outside the polling station before or after you've cast your vote.

You still can vote after 10pm if you're in a queue

Polls will open at 7am and close at 10pm. However, if you are queuing inside or outside the polling station at 10pm, you will still be allowed to vote.

Signage outside a polling station in central Westminster, London. Local elections are taking place across England, as well as parliamentary elections in Scotland and Wales, on Thursday. Picture date: Wednesday May 5, 2021.
Local elections are taking place across the UK this week. (PA)

You don't need to bring photo ID – unless you're in Northern Ireland

If you live in England, Wales or Scotland, you do not need to bring photo ID to vote.

In Northern Ireland, you will need to show photo ID, such as your passport, driving licence, Electoral Identity Card or Translink SmartPass.

Read more: Which votes are happening in my area and who's standing?

You do not have to take your polling card with you.

You can use either a pen or pencil to vote

There will be a pencil in the polling booth, but you can use a pen if you prefer.

You should not to write anything else on the paper – other than a cross in one box – or your vote may not be counted.

If you make a mistake, polling station staff can give you a replacement ballot paper – as long as you have not already put yours in the ballot box.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson holds a rivet gun during a campaign visit to Burnley College Sixth Form Centre in Burnley, Lancashire. Picture date: Thursday April 28, 2022.
Boris Johnson visiting Burnley on the campaign trial earlier this week. (PA)

You can't discuss politics inside the polling station

The secrecy of voting means you can't discuss politics or the campaign once you're inside the polling station.

It is a crime to reveal how someone else voted, or to intimidate someone to vote a certain way.

You can bring your child, but they can't vote for you

You are free to bring children to the polling station, as long as they do not mark your ballot for you.

Pets, apart from assistance dogs, are not usually allowed inside polling stations.

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