What is a General Election?

This is a national vote to choose a government to run the country. They are usually held every 5 years but this one has been called early. A total of 650 people will be chosen as Members of Parliament (MP’s) to decide laws and policies.

Why are we having a vote now?

In 2016, there was a referendum (a people’s vote) on whether or not to leave the EU. The UK’s departure date was originally supposed to be 29 March 2019 but it has not yet happened. Prime Minister, Boris Johnson doesn’t have enough MPs to easily pass new laws and hopes that an early election will increase the number of conservative MPs making his Brexit plans easier to achieve.

How do I register to vote?

To vote you must be on the electoral register. You can register to vote online or by post. Online registration only takes a few minutes and can be done here.

The deadline for registering to vote in the next General Election is midnight on 26 November 2019.

Can I vote if I am homeless?

Yes. If you are homeless, you should make a “declaration of local connection” giving the address of a place where you spend a substantial part of your time, or the address of somewhere near to that place. This could include a drop-in centre. You will need to fill a form in to support this.

I am in hospital/care home, can I use the hospital or care home address to vote?

Yes. You can use a hospital/care home address to register to vote so long as you have been there long enough to be considered a resident.

If you are a short-term patient in a psychiatric hospital you can register to vote in the usual way – you should give your address outside the hospital as your place of residency

Am I allowed to vote?

  • The vast majority of people in care settings can vote.
  • Voluntary patients in mental health hospitals and other care settings can vote.
  • Patients under civil sections, such as Section 2 or 3 of the Mental Health Act (MHA) can vote.
  • Patients on Community Treatment Orders (CTO) can vote.
  • Prisoners remanded to hospital under the Mental Health Act (MHA) on Sections 35, 36 or 48 can vote.
  • Patients who are homeless, of no fixed abode or in B&B accommodation can vote.
  • Patients who lack capacity can vote.
  • Patients detained after having been convicted of committing a criminal offence and been ordered to hospital by the Courts cannot vote.

Do I have to vote?

Many people like to vote as they feel it is important to have a say in who makes decisions in Government, but you do not have to vote.

Some people decide not to vote because they are not interested in voting, or feel that voting makes no difference or that they do not have enough knowledge to choose a party to vote for.

How do I vote?

  • In person: At a polling station between 7am and 10pm on Thursday 12 December 2019
  • By post: Postal vote packs are usually sent out a week before Election Day. Post your vote back so that it arrives by 10pm on the day of the election. If it arrives later than this, your vote won’t be counted.
  • By proxy: Nominating someone to vote for you on the day of the election or by post.

You must register by 5pm on 26 November 2019 if you want a postal vote and by 4 December 2019 if you want a proxy vote.

Where can I get more information?

No-one can tell you who to vote for but your care team can help you get more information or register to vote if you would like. You can also speak to an advocate.

  • Get information and register here or here 
  • A good easy read guide is available here
  • Useful information for younger voters is available here and here