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General Election 2024

All the facts on the upcoming General Election, including how to register to vote and how to vote.


The 2024 General Election has been announced for 4th July!

So, there will be a General Election in just over six weeks' time, we want to make sure students' voices are heard by politicians and that as many students and young people as possible vote in the election.

Students make up 10% of the voting population, but our voice will only be heard if we turn up at elections.

We encourage all of you who are able to register to vote, ask your friends and family too. 

Here are 3 things you can to make sure you're ready for the General Election

  1. Register to vote
  2. Get your FREE voter ID (if needed, usually £18) using code 'NUS'. Don't forget, a valid ID will be compulsory to vote in the General Election. 
  3. Read about the General Election online and learn what the different parties are offering. Manifestos should be released shortly. 


How do I register to vote?

You need to register to vote on the UK Government’s website: You can also find information about registering using a paper form on this website.

You will be asked to provide your name, your date of birth, your nationality, your address(es) and your National Insurance number.

If you do not know your National Insurance number, you can get assistance in finding it here:  

The deadline to register to vote in the General Election is midnight on Tuesday 18th June 2024.


Do I need to register to vote again if I change address?

Yes, you need to register to vote every time you change address.


Can I register to vote at two addresses?

Yes, students are allowed to register to vote at more than one address.

We know that students often split their time between their term-time address and their home address, so it's important that you are registered at both.

With the General Election taking place on 4th July, it is more likely that students will be living at their home address rather than their term-time address.


Will I need photo ID?

Yes, this is the first General Election where voters will need to show photo ID before being allowed to vote. 

You can find a full list of accepted voter IDs in each UK nation via the Electoral Commission here.

These include: PassportDriving licenceBlue BadgePASS cardVoter Authority Certificate and more. PASS cards are not accepted in Northern Ireland - find a list of accepted ID in Northern Ireland here.

The photo ID needs to be the original version and not a photocopy.


Does student ID count as voter ID?

No, student ID cards issued by universities or colleges do not count as valid photo ID in UK elections.

Many students and young people do not have valid ID, so NUS has teamed up with CitizenCard to offer a FREE Voter ID (usually £18) to any student or young person who needs it.

Sign up for your FREE CitizenCard here


How old do I have to be to vote in the General Election?

You need to be aged 18 or over on polling day to be able to vote in a General Election.

So, if you were born on or before 4th July 2006, you're eligible to vote in the General Election.

If you live in England or Northern Ireland you can register to vote when you are 16 or over, and in Wales and Scotland you can register when you are 14 or over.


I'm an international student. Can I vote?

Some international students will be able to vote in the General Election.

BritishIrish and qualifying Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK are allowed to vote in General Elections.

Qualifying Commonwealth countries include IndiaPakistanAustraliaSri LankaCanada and many more.

Click here to find our if you can vote in the General Election.


What if I'm away from home on 4th July?

You might be on your summer holidays in July, or you might want to vote at your term-time address despite being at home. If this is the case, you can apply for a postal vote or a proxy vote.

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on Wednesday 19th June.

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote is 5pm on Wednesday 26th June.


Information for students on voting in person

Where do I vote?

You vote in person at a polling station, which tends to be a public building such as a school, community centre or local hall.

You will be sent a poll card before an election or referendum telling you the location of your polling station.

You will only be able to vote at the polling station on your poll card. You do not have to take your poll card with you, and you can still vote if you have lost your poll card.


What time should I vote at?

Polling stations are open between 7am and 10pm on the day of an election or referendum.

As long as you are in the queue to vote at the polling station by 10pm, you will be allowed to vote.


What do I do at the polling station?

Staff at the polling station will ask for your name and address. In some elections and referendums, including General Elections, you will need to show Photo ID to confirm your identity.

You’ll be given a ballot paper containing a list of the people, parties or options you can vote for.

There will be instructions at the top of the ballot paper and on notices in the polling station on how to fill in your ballot paper.


I will not be able to vote in person - what should I do?

Check out our guidance on voting by post or voting by proxy (applying for someone else to vote on your behalf).


Information for students on voting by post

How do I vote by post?

You have to apply for a postal vote if you want to vote by post.

Students may want to apply for a postal vote if you want to vote at your home address but you are living at your term-time address, or vice-versa.

You may also want to vote by post if you are out of the country on the day of an election or referendum. You do not need to give a reason unless you are voting in Northern Ireland.


How do I apply for a postal ballot?

You can apply for a postal vote online or by post. If you plan to vote by post in Northern Ireland, use this form.

You can apply for a postal vote for A) a single election on a specific date, B) a specific period if you want to vote in England, Scotland or Wales, or C) up to three years


Information for students on voting by proxy

What is voting by proxy?

Voting by proxy is where you ask a trusted person to vote on your behalf in an election or referendum.

You can only apply for a proxy vote under certain circumstances, which include:

  • You will be abroad or away from your home constituency on polling day
  • You are registered as an overseas voter
  • You have a medical issue or disability
  • You cannot vote in person because of work commitments or military service


How do I apply for a proxy vote?

You can apply for a proxy vote online or by post. If you plan to vote by post in Northern Ireland, use this form.

You must apply for a proxy vote by 5pm 6 working days before polling day in England, Scotland and Wales, and by 5pm 14 working days before polling day in Northern Ireland.


Who can act as a proxy for me?

Anyone can act as your proxy as long as they are A) Registered to vote, B) eligible to vote in the election or referendum taking place, and C) can vote in the polling station stated on your poll card.

Your proxy will need to take their own Photo ID with them if it is required in that election.

If they cannot get to the polling station on your poll card, they can contact your local Electoral Registration Office to arrange to cast their proxy vote by post.


Can I change or cancel my proxy vote?

Yes, you can change or cancel who acts as your proxy by contacting your local Electoral Registration Office.