Students Registering to Vote
A student who has a permanent home address and a term-time address can be lawfully registered at both addresses. If an elector is registered to vote in two different electoral areas, they are eligible to vote in local elections for the two different local councils. However, it is an offence to vote twice in any one election. Such an offence could result in a fine of up to £5,000.
Frequently Asked Questions About Students Registering to Vote
- I'm a student living in Newcastle under Lyme, should I register to vote here or at home?
Students are entitled to register at both their home address and their university address. Although it is an offence to vote more than once in a parliamentary election, you can vote in local elections at both of your addresses.
EXCEPT: if your home address is in the same local authority area as your university address, for example if your parents' home was in Clayton and your university address in Keele, it would be an offence to vote twice both in the parliamentary and the Newcastle under Lyme Borough Council elections.
- I was registered in Newcastle under Lyme at my room at the halls of residence and have now moved to a shared house. Do I need to register at the house address?
Yes, you should re-register to vote every time you move house.
You are now able to change your registration details every time you move, and not just once a year. Follow this link to register to vote online.
- How do I check if my name is already on the Register of Electors?
We can only check addresses in Newcastle under Lyme. Please contact Electoral Services on 01782 717717 or email and provide both the address and your name and one of the team will be able to check.
- I am a student residing in Keele University halls of residence. Do I have to register myself or will my university register me?
Under Individual Electoral Registration you must register yourself. However, a system has been developed between the University and the Council whereby you can submit your personal details as part of an on-line University process in October each year and the Council will then process your application. As part of this process, you can advise that you do not wish to register at your campus address. If any subsequent changes to your circumstances are made after you have completed that process, including moving address, you can apply online .
- I don’t see the point in voting so why bother registering to vote?
While it is not a legal requirement to vote in elections, it is a legal requirement to be registered to vote. Voting is solely your choice and you have the freedom to vote or not.
Also, the Register of Electors is used by a number of organisations to ensure fraud or money laundering does not occur. You may find yourself turned down by letting or estate agents if your name does not appear on the Register of Electors, since these organisations know it is a legal requirement to register and if you haven’t it may be that you fail in their checks.
In the future banks and other large companies will see blanks in your registration history and this can lead to problems. It only takes around five minutes to complete your registration on the portal and it could save massive amounts of time in the future as you can’t back date your registration history.
- If I only register to vote at my home address outside of Newcastle under Lyme, how do I still vote?
If you don’t wish to return home to vote in person, you may apply to vote either by post or appoint a proxy to vote for you.
If you arrange a postal vote, your local council will send you the ballot paper via the Royal Mail about two weeks before the election date. As long as you complete and return by the day of the election, your vote will count.
If you don’t wish to vote by post, you can arrange for a relative or friend to vote for you at your normal polling station at home; this is a proxy vote. They receive a special poll card they must take to the polling station. Your local council where you normally reside can arrange either of these; their website will have forms to download, complete and return to them.
Do be aware that there is a deadline to apply for a postal vote and a proxy vote; applications must be received by your council no later than 12 working days before the election for a postal vote and 6 working days for a proxy vote.
I am registered to vote in Newcastle under Lyme and don’t know where my polling station is?
At least three weeks before any election, the Returning Officer will send you a poll card that confirms you are registered to vote and this card includes the address of your polling station.
You don’t need to take the poll card to the polling station, but it does help, as a poll card is to only inform you that there is an election, the date of the election, the location of the polling station and that you may vote.
If you haven’t received a poll card, you should contact Electoral Services on 01782 717717 or email and provide your name and full address and a member of the team will check you are registered to vote and which polling station you must attend.
- There is a polling station located in my college; can I just call in there?
Only if it is the polling station for the area in which you are residing, which your poll card will confirm. If you live outside of the area (called a polling district) you cannot vote at any other station than the one designated for your polling district.
Your name only appears on the Register of Electors for your designated polling station. Staff at any polling station will be able to direct you to your actual polling station if you provide your address.
- How do I know who to vote for?
It is solely your choice who you vote for and you must not allow anyone to mark your ballot paper on your behalf unless they are a legally appointed proxy for you.
All political parties produce manifestos, which they publish on their websites, outlining their policies. Most parties undertake canvassing and leaflet drops as do independent candidates who are standing. There is often Hustings where candidate’s debate and take part in a Question Time, all of these will help you make your decision.
- What happens after I have made my application?
Your information will be submitted to the Governments website to confirm that your details match the information held by the Department of Work and Pensions. Providing your details match, the Council will be informed and your details will be added to the Electoral Register.
- What happens if my details don’t match or I don’t provide all of the required information?
In the event of this happening you will be sent a letter by the Council requesting you to provide further information to confirm your identity. The easiest way to do this is to provide a copy of your Passport although other options are available. Full details are provided within the letter that would be sent to you.
- What is the “Open Register”?
There are two registers which Electoral Registration Officers are required to keep – the Electoral Register and the Open Register (also known as the Edited Register).
Any further questions should be directed to Electoral Services at Castle House, Barracks Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 1BL.
Last updated 7 August 2018