Many people assume that everyone knows how to vote, but it can easily seem confusing or daunting.
In reality, it's actually very simple! Read through our guide below to see what you need to do.
Step 1. Am I registered?
If you're not registered to vote, or you're not sure, it's incredibly easy. Simply go to https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Fill out your details in the form, which takes only a couple of minutes, and the City Council will send you a letter to confirm you're registered.
But make sure you act quickly!
You have until 19th April to register to vote if you want to vote in the City and County Council elections on 6th May.
Students! You might be wondering "I'm registered at home, but I'd actually like to vote in Exeter really, as I spend most of my time here". Well you can be registered here too, just follow the same link above and fill out the details.
Step 2. Find my polling station
So, if you're registered to vote, and you're in Exeter on 6th May, you'll be voting in person. But where do you go? There's a handy polling station finder on the Exeter City Council website - http://apps.exeter.gov.uk/dn2pollingstation/stationfinder.aspx
Just put in your postcode and it shows you the location of your polling station with a map.
Step 3. Voting
Before the election, you'll have been sent a polling card in the post, which you can bring with you to the polling station. However, if you forget to bring it, don't worry, you can still vote! Polling stations are open from 7am-10pm.
When you enter the polling station go to the desk and give your name, showing your polling card if you have this with you.
This year, you will be given three ballot papers.
One for the City Council election - to vote for a ward councillor.
One for the Devon County Council election - to vote for a county councillor for your division.
And one for the Police and Crime Commissoner elections which are also being held at the same time.
You then find a polling booth. Place a cross in the box next to the name of the candidate you're voting for in each ballot. If you vote for more than one candidate your vote will not count (except in Mincinglake and Whipton, where two City councillors will be elected - one due to a by-election).
Fold the ballot papers and put the papers in the ballot box. You have now voted!
Special Covid-safe measures
Voting in person is a private activity and a polling booth provides a safe space. However, additionally this year, social distancing within the polling station will be in operation and you are asked to wear a face covering, use the hand sanitiser provided and bring your own pen or pencil if possible.
Political parties and candidates have been asked by the government not to offer lifts to polling stations this year.
If you are unable to get to the polling station because you are ill or self-isolating on election day, you can apply for a proxy vote in the days leading up to polling day and until 5pm on May 6th itself. You can also change who is appointed as your proxy if they are affected by coronavirus. You should contact the Council’s returning officer to arrange a proxy vote: 01392 265141
Guarenteeing your vote - vote by post!
If you are concerned about going in person to a polling station, or expect to be absent from Exeter on May 6th, why not join many others in applying for a postal vote. This means you will be sent a ballot paper in advance that you can then put in the post. You can apply for this here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote