Registering to vote

Politics in the UK right now might be a big old mess, but voting is still the main way to get a say in how the country is run. And to vote on election day, you need to register. Here’s how.

18th birthday cake

Happy 18th! Now you can officially participate in democracy as we know it.

How to register to vote

It takes five minutes and you can do it online. All you have to do is click here and follow the instructions. The way you register has changed and now each person in a household needs to register individually. Also if you’ve moved house recently you will need to update your details on the system.

Make sure you have your National Insurance number on you!

Why should I register to vote?

Yes, most politicians seem to care more about fruit flies than they do about young people, but the more young people register and vote, the more likely it is that they’ll start giving more of a shit about you and will stop ignoring you in all their policies … well maybe.

It’s a chicken and egg thing. Be the egg that hatches the chicken … or something.

I’ve heard a lot recently about spoiling my ballot paper – what does that mean?

If you still think all the political parties are total douchewipes, you can always turn up to vote and spoil your ballot. This means not ticking any box on your election sheet – and you can add expletives and doodles or just write ‘none of you are good, I hate all of you’. Take note, to actually get into the polling booth and scrawl willies on your ballot paper you still have to register to vote.

What’s the difference between spoiling a ballot and just not bothering to vote?

They (The Man) count spoiled ballots. The number of spoiled ballots are officially announced in each electoral count. Essentially, you’re still engaging in our democratic system. You’re making your voice heard in an official way. Even if it’s just to say ‘fuck you all’. You’re saying it officially. You’re being heard.

What actually happens on Election Day?

You’ll get a voting card in the post with the name and address of your local polling station on it. On Election day, turn up (tragically we don’t get a national holiday to vote, so it’ll have to be fitted round work/college/university) and give your card to one of the volunteers. You’ll need photographic ID, which they will check. They’ll then hand you a ballot paper. You go and stand in a booth and make your selection, then march across to the box and drop it in. Democratic duty done.

Resist the urge to take selfies – they’re illegal inside, so wait until you’re back on the street.

Remember – photographic ID is now legally required to vote.

But voting is for mere sheeples and I’m unique and special!

Democracy in the UK is in an embarrassing state right now, with our three main parties mostly looking like navy blue suit-wearing copies of each other. But if you don’t bother to vote, why should they bother to change?

Also – we know you’ve heard this before, but hear us out – engaging with democracy is a hard-won right. Women flung themselves in front of horses for it, countries around the planet are still storming local squares and giving their lives for the chance to spoil their ballot paper. So check your privilege and register to vote.

Next Steps




Updated on 29-Sep-2015