General Elections - some questions and answers

Information about General Elections and what to do if one is called.


What is a General Election?

General Elections (elections to the UK Parliament) usually take place every 5 years. At a UK General Election you will be voting to elect a Member of Parliament. There are 650 Members of Parliament (MPs) in the UK Parliament.

MPs are elected using the First Past the Post system. You vote once for a candidate in your constituency and the candidate with the most votes becomes your MP.

Kemi Badenoch is the current MP for the Saffron Walden Constituency.

Who can vote in a General Election

To vote in a General Election you must:

  • Be registered to vote
  • Be 18 or over on the day of the election ('polling day')
  • 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

How can I check if I am registered to vote?

You can check if you are already on the electoral register by contacting Customer Services.

Or you can look at a copy of the electoral register at the Council Offices, London Road, Saffron Walden.

How do I register to vote?

You can apply to register via the Government website. It's simple, quick and secure.  Remember to have your national insurance number to hand before you start. If you prefer, you can also download a paper registration form to complete and return in person or by post.

Register to vote

If you need help to register online you can visit:

We have more information on our registering to vote page about what to do if you've moved house, are serving with the armed forces, live abroad or are a student away from home.

If there is an election where will my polling station be?

At elections, polling stations are the places you go to vote. They are staffed by officers appointed by the returning officer. The poll card delivered before election day will tell you where your polling station will be. 

We are currently reviewing all of our polling stations to ensure that the premises used for polling stations are the best available in your area.

Find where your polling station is using our polling stations map.

I want to vote but can't get to a polling station 

You can apply to vote by post if you don't think you will be able to get to a polling station.

If you're unable to vote in person you can ask someone to vote on your behalf. This is called a proxy vote.  

Find out more about voting by post or voting by proxy.

I am a student - where can I vote?

If you're a student, you may be able to register to vote at both your home address and your term-time address.  You can only vote once in a parliamentary election. 

This means you must choose if you want to vote at your home address or at your term-time address. It is a criminal offence to vote twice in one election.

If you request a postal vote you need to make sure it goes to where you want it - either to your home address or your university address.

We will be sending the initial batch of postal votes out around the 22 November but you will still have until 26 November at 5pm to submit a Icon for pdf postal vote application [107.8KB] to us and you should make it clear where you want your ballot paper sent.