10 Top Tips for Voting at a General Election in the UK

So, it seems that we have an impending general election on July 4th 2024 and I want to encourage everyone to vote.

I’m quite a politcal beast and one thing I’m really passionate about is voting (if you’re eligible) so here are my top tips for voting in the UK:

1) Vote!

Just effing vote. If you only read the first tip that’s fine! Vote! Did you hear me? Vote! Got that? Good. Oh, and VOTE!!! But you can’t vote if you haven’t registered to vote – see point 2. 

2) Register to vote in the UK

In order to vote you need to register to vote, you can do that here. I’ve even put the link in for you, aren’t I nice? Get it done – now, or after you’ve read this.  Whatever, but do it in time!

Post box
What a lovely postbox – postal voting

3) Postal Voting

If, like me, you are a lazy bastard, poorly, likely to forget to go to the polling station, going to be on holiday or just ccan’t get to your designated polling station you can register for postal voting. Honestly, you don’t need a legitimate reason to postal vote, you just can. You can register here. If you miss the deadline this time you can still vote at your polling station and postal vote next time. Once you’re on the postal voting register you stay there as long as you fill out and return any of the forms they send you (which they do from time to time).

4) Remember you need photo ID

Don’t do a Boris and turn up to vote without your photo ID (how embarassing, whose idea was it? Eh, Boris?).

Here is the current list of accepted photo ID for elections:

  • a UK or Northern Ireland photocard driving licence (full or provisional)
  • a driving licence issued by an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the Isle of Man or any of the Channel Islands
  • a UK passport
  • a passport issued by an EU country, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or a Commonwealth country
  • a PASS card (National Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • a Blue Badge
  • a biometric residence permit (BRP)
  • a Defence Identity Card (MOD form 90)
  • a national identity card issued by the EU, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein
  • a Northern Ireland Electoral Identity Card
  • a Voter Authority Certificate
  • an Anonymous Elector’s Document

You can also use one of the following travel passes as photo ID when you vote:

The photo on your ID must look like you. You can still use your ID even if it has expired. That last part might be aqn issue for me. On my way back from France recently the guy at immigration said it didn’t look like me and “your hair is a different colour” I mean, really!

5) Do your research in the political parties before you vote

Make sure you are voting according to your own principles. Don’t let anyone else sway you, not your mum and dad, significant other, Dave down the pub (even if he does seem like a nice bloke). Take their opinions on board by all means but ultimately make sure you are voting for a party whose policies reflect your ideals. Oh, and don’t believe everything you see on the side of a bus…

6) Don’t be biased

Make sure you don’t just read papers or watch the news that are biased towards one particular party (Yes Fox, Murdoch even the BBC I’m looking at you). By the same token social media is biased you only have to look at Meta, algorithms and the fact that some words are hidden by social media.

Hell, I’m biased! I’m openly a lefty so I won’t be sharing anything that is positive about the Conservatives or the right wing parties – at least I’m being honest. You get where I’m coming from, make sure you use a variety of sources of information.

Newspapers
Choose a variety of news sources

7) Compromise if you have to

You are unlikely to find a party that matches up with 100% of your ideals I’m afraid so you’re going to have to compromise a bit here but I’m betting there are some policies that you are glaringly against or strongly for.

8) Do not spoil your vote

Please, please if you’ve gone to the effort of registering to vote, please don’t spoil it. Yes the spoilt papers are counted but that is NOT going to change the wrongs of the country in the short term. Please vote for the party you find the least offensive.

9) Make a difference by voting

Don’t think you can’t make a difference?  You can.  Do you know how many people DON’T vote? 33.9% of eligible voters in the 2015 general election. That means that over 1/3 of eligible people DIDN’T vote.  Think 1/3 doesn’t make a difference? Imagine if someone ate 1/3 of your cake or drank 1/3 of your drink – you’d be pretty pissed off wouldn’t you?  That’s how much of a difference it could make.

10) Vote tactically

OK, so I know I said you should vote for the party who you resonate with the most, but, BUT in order to get the best result possible, you might have to vote tactically. For instance, I live in an area that has been Tory for a billion years but the Liberal Democrats stand a good chance of ousting them whereas the Green Party or Labour do not. Sadly, this is where our First Past the Post system fails. 

Feel free to share the crap out of this to encourage everyone to VOTE in the General Election on July 4th 2024

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