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Register to vote

Your vote matters! This page will give you information about how to register, who can register and why you should register.

Why should you vote?

Your vote is incredibly powerful so it's important that students are registered to vote .  Young people make up a significant percentage of the population in the UK, but are less likely to be registered to vote - around 30% of 18-24 year olds are not registered to vote compares to less than 5% of those over 65.

Being registered to vote not only gives you the right to participate in elections, but can also improve your credit rating.

Whether you live on campus or in the local area, you form part of the local community and are affected by the same issues as everyone else, including;

  • Education
  • Transport
  • Housing
  • Crime
  • Health
  • Jobs
  • Sport and Leisure Facilities

What's the point in voting?

Whilst it's not a legal requirement to vote, it is a legal requirement to be registered to vote, if you are eligible - voting is your choice and you shouldn't let others influence your right to vote.

The Register of Electors is also used by a large number of organisations to ensure fraud or money laundering does not occur, for example you may find yourself turned down by letting agents if you are not on the electoral register. Additionally, banks and other large companies will see gaps in your registration history and this can impact your credit rating and your ability to get a loan/ credit agreement in the future.

How do you register?

Individuals must register themselves, the registration process is simple and can be completed in a few minutes online. If you need a paper application you can download this online or contact the Electoral Services Team at your Local Council.

If you live on campus or in the local area, your local council is Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, their contact details can be found at

Don't forget, when you move house you need to re-register using the above link.

Can I vote?

To vote in a general election you must be registered to vote and; The following cannot vote in the UK election
  • be 18 years or older on polling day
  • be a British, Irish or qualifying Commonwealth Citizen
  • be a resident at an address in the UK (or a UK citizen living abroad who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years)
  • not be legally excluded from voting
  • members of the House of Lords
  • EU Citizens (other than UK, Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta) residing in the UK
  • anyone other than British, Irish and qualifying Commonwealth citizens
  • convicted persons detained in pursuance of their sentences, excluding contempt of court (though remand prisoners, unconvicted prisoners and civil prisoners can vote if they are on the electoral register)
  • anyone found guilty within the previous five years of corrupt or illegal practices in connection with an election

I'm a student living in the Welwyn Hatfield Borough, should I register to vote here or at home?

Students are entitled to register at both their home address and their University address, providing that they are in two different electoral areas for two different local councils.

It is an offence to vote more than once in a Parliamentary election or national refurendum - such an offence can result in fines up to £5,000.

For more information on students' right to vote, visit

What if I only want to vote in the elections at my home address?

You can return home to vote in person, or you can apply to the local council at your home address to vote by post or appoint a proxy to vote for you.

If you'd like to vote by post or via proxy, you can download the relevant form, complete it at return it by the required date by visiting

Postal vote

If you arrange a postal vote, your local council will send you the ballot paper via Royal Mail around 2 weeks before the election date. As long as you complete and return your ballot back by the date stated, your vote will count.

Voting by Proxy

You can arrange for a relative or friend to vote for you at your normal polling station at home. Your local council has to agree to this, and the chosen proxy will recieve a special polling card.

What you will need

From 4 May 2023 you’ll need to show photo ID when voting in person in some UK elections or referendums.

You’ll need it to vote in:

  • UK Parliament by-elections
  • local elections in England (including councils, mayors, the Greater London Authority and parishes)
  • recall of MP petitions in England, Scotland and Wales
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales
  • neighbourhood planning referendums in England
  • local authority referendums in England (including Council Tax increase referendums)

Further information can be found via the link here.

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