Common Elections FAQs

This page contains frequently asked questions regarding elections and referendums. For information on voting safely during the Covid-19 pandemic, please see our voting safely at the 2021 elections webpage.

You need to be on the electoral register to vote in all UK elections and referendums. You are not automatically registered even if you pay council tax.

If you receive a request for your registration information from then you are legally obliged to respond. If you do not respond you could face a fine of up to £1,000,

It is an offence to knowingly give false information and you could face a fine of up to £5,000 and/or up to six months in prison. If you do not make an application for registration when required to do so, you could face a fine of £80.

Some people also register to vote because they want to apply for credit. This is because credit reference agencies use the register to confirm where someone lives when they apply for credit in order to counteract fraud.

Yes but all cancellation requests must be sent in writing to:

Electoral Services  
Council Offices
Kesteven Street
NG34 7EF
or emailed to:

Requests to cancel your postal vote can be made at any time unless the election timetable has started and then the request must be made and received by the specified deadline (11 working days before polling day) which will be printed on your poll card. If you decide you would like to vote by post or proxy again at a later date please contact Customer Services for a new application form on 01529 414155.

Yes, you can register to vote online any time. You will need to provide specific information including current and previous address, national insurance number, date of birth and nationality.

No - the two are completely separate and paying Council Tax does not mean that your details have been added to the Electoral Register. Visit our Register to vote page for details on how to register.

Students may be entitled to register at both their home address and their university address, but must  only vote once in any national election, as it is an offence to vote more than once. For example, you may be registered in two different parliamentary constituencies but you can only vote once as they are both electing to the same body. The final decision on a registration rests with the Electoral Registration Officer with whom you are trying to register. Please contact us for further information.

If you have either registered online or completed and returned an individual electoral registration form since you moved to your new home, you do not need to register again. If you have not, you need to register to vote at your new address. You can register to vote online any time.

Service personnel and their husbands, wives or civil partners have the option of making a service declaration or can register to vote as an ordinary voter either online or by requesting a voter registration form. The way you choose to register to vote is up to you and will depend on your personal circumstances.

  • If you are based in the UK and unlikely to be posted overseas in the next year, you can register as an Ordinary Voter - You can register to vote online any time
  • If you are based overseas or expect to be posted abroad in the next year, it makes sense to register as a Service Voter. A Service Voter Registration will last for five years. Register as an Armed Forces Voter.

If you are registered as a postal or proxy voter this information will be shown on the poll card which will be sent at the time of an election. Please contact Electoral Services on 01529 308352 if you wish to check at any other time. 

If you are registered to vote, we will send you a poll card telling you when an election is happening and where and when you need to vote. You can also check details of forthcoming elections.

For ‘spoilt’ postal vote packs (where you have made a mistake that cannot be rectified) then all documents need to be returned in person to the Council Offices in Sleaford so that replacements can be issued. Electors may be asked to sign for replacements. Please contact Electoral Services on 01529 308352 for further information.

Providing you have not missed the deadline to register to vote for the election you can register to vote online or request, complete and return a registration form to the Electoral Services department. If the deadline has passed and you still are on the Electoral Register at your previous address you may go and vote at your previous polling station. Please contact Electoral Services for further information on 01529 308352 or contact your local electoral registration office if your previous address is within another Council’s area.

Please unseal the envelopes and put the correct document in the correct envelope. Reseal the envelopes and initial them.

If you have already posted the pack back, contact Electoral Services on 01529 308352 for further information.

You do not need your poll card in order to vote, providing you are on the electoral register. If you wish to check that you are registered please contact Electoral Services on 01529 308352 or by email to

For ‘lost’ postal vote packs (where you have not received your postal vote pack) replacements can be provided, but only from 5 working days before an election. You will need to provide documentation to verify your identity/address so that a replacement can be provided and may need to visit the Council Offices in Sleaford to collect it. You may be asked to sign for replacements. Please contact Electoral Services on 01529 308352 for further information.

If you are not a resident of North Kesteven, please contact your local electoral registration office.

Please contact Human Resources for an application form on 01529 414155.

No, all elections held within the North Kesteven District Council area are counted by hand by appointed counting staff. 

It is the responsibility of each individual candidate to provide information and/or documentation to the electorate. The Council does not have or send out this information.

There is no single source of candidate information for local elections, so you should visit candidate websites, party websites, or approach them in any other way.

A list of candidates will be available to view from the relevant election webpage. Your can select an election from our forthcoming elections webpage.

When you go to the polling station, tell the clerk your name and address. The clerk will confirm your details on the register and give you a ballot paper for each election that you are eligible to vote for at the polling station.

When you are given your ballot paper(s), go to one of the polling booths. Mark a cross (X) in the box on the right hand side of the ballot paper(s) opposite the name(s) of the party or individual candidate(s) you are voting for.

The ballot paper(s) tells you how many candidates you may vote for. Do not vote for more than that number. Do not put any other mark on the ballot paper(s), or your vote(s) may not be counted.

If you spoil your ballot paper(s) by mistake, show the Presiding Officer and ask for a replacement. You can only get a replacement vote if you have not put your ballot paper in the ballot box.

Fold the ballot paper(s) in two. Show the Presiding Officer the number and other unique identifying mark on the ballot paper(s), but do not let anyone see your vote.

Put the ballot paper(s) in the ballot box and leave the polling station.

If you are a resident of North Kesteven and receive a poll card or a postal vote for someone who does not live at your address, please put this back in the post marked ‘Not at this address’ if possible. Electoral Services will then be able to start a deletion process for the elector but please be aware that this can sometimes take a while to complete. If you are unable to return the item please contact Electoral Services on 01529 308352.

If you are not a resident of North Kesteven, please contact your local electoral registration office.

This could be electoral fraud. Electoral fraud is taken extremely seriously by everyone involved in the democratic process.

All polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm. People need to make sure they arrive at the polling station in time to cast their vote.

There are a number of reasons why a vote may be rejected. In the case of postal votes, the most common reason is that the signature and/or date of birth provided on the postal voting statement do not match the ones supplied on the original postal vote application form and any subsequent signature updates. If the postal voting statement is not accepted, then that voter’s ballot paper cannot be counted.

At the count, ballot papers are rejected if the intention of the voter is unclear, for example if a voter has marked their ballot paper incorrectly or voted for more candidates than they are entitled to.

There is guidance issued to Returning Officers to assist them in their decision-making, including examples of what should and should not be accepted, based on the legislation and case law.

You can opt-in or opt-out of the open register. The electoral register is used only for electoral purposes. The open register is available for general sale and can be used for commercial activities. Your name and address will appear on the electoral register but you have the choice to opt-out of the open register.

Yes. You can register to vote at 16 or 17 years old. If an election is called before your 18th birthday, you will not qualify to vote. However, if an election is called on or after your 18th birthday, then you will be eligible to vote.

Yes. Your credit score may be affected if you are not registered to vote. If you are not registered, you may be refused credit, have problems opening a bank account or taking out a mobile phone contract. If you are registered and are still have problems, you should contact one of the agencies and request a copy of your credit file.

Ballot papers can be marked with either pen or pencil. We provide pencils for practical reasons and to reduce the risk of ink transfer. Note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we ask that you bring your own pen or pencil for elections taking place in 2021.

Yes. It is a legal requirement to be registered to vote. However, it is an option as to whether you chose to vote or not.

No – legislation only allows electors to vote either in person at a polling station or by postal vote or by appointing a proxy to vote on your behalf.

Yes they can, including outside polling stations but they should comply with the Electoral Commission’s Code of Conduct, keeping access to polling places and the pavement clear. Campaigners should be thoughtful to voters in their approach - for example, recognising that some voters may find groups of supporters outside a polling station intimidating.

Yes. Polling station staff and police officers shouldn’t discourage campaigning that is carried out peaceably but if campaigners are blocking access to the polling station, they can be asked to leave. The Presiding Officer is responsible for maintaining order at the polling station.

Not at present. North Kesteven District Council took part in a Voter Identification Pilot in May 2019 and anyone voting in person was required to show identification at the polling station for that election only. However, the Government announced in the Queen’s Speech in October 2019 that it intends to bring in a requirement for electors to show identification to be able to vote in person, although the timing for this is not yet known.

No. Electors may take their poll card to the polling station but will still need to confirm their name and address to polling staff as a prevention against fraud. The Government has indicated that they propose to introduce a requirement to show photographic identification at the polling station in the future. 

In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply for an emergency proxy up to 5pm on an election day. This is only where you have a medical or work related emergency which means you cannot go to the polling station in person, which has occurred after the normal proxy deadline has passed for an election. 

You will need to submit a completed application form (which can be emailed to The form will also needed to be signed by a medical professional/employer. The forms can be downloaded from the  Electoral Commission website - Emergency Proxy application. Please contact Electoral Services at for more information.