EU referendum: How to register to vote

Today is your last chance to register

Adam Withnall,Ashley Cowburn
Tuesday 07 June 2016 09:33

At midnight, the deadline will pass to register to vote in the EU referendum, and an estimated seven million people in the UK are still unregistered.

Today is your “last chance” to make sure you can have your say, the Electoral Commission said, after almost a quarter of a million people submitted applications to register on Monday alone.

Registering to vote takes just five minutes and can be done online.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to register, what to expect and how to vote in the EU referendum:

Am I eligible to vote?

You can vote in the referendum if you’re registered and are 18 or over on the day of the vote. Other requirements include:

  • A British citizen living in the UK, or 
  • A Commonwealth citizen living in the UK who has leave to remain in the UK or who does not require leave to remain in the UK
  • A British citizen living overseas who has been registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years
  • An Irish citizen living overseas who was born in Northern Ireland and who has been registered to vote in Northern Ireland in the last 15 years

If you’re under 18 then you might be aware that the Conservatives blocked an amendment to allow 16 and 17 year-olds to vote in the referendum.

How do I register?

If you registered to vote in the May local and mayoral elections a few weeks ago then you will not need to re-register.

You have to register before midnight on 7 June to have your say in the referendum. You can do that here:

You will need your National Insurance number and your passport.

There is a caveat: If you’ve moved home in the last few weeks then you will need to re-register at your new property.

EU referendum - key dates

Still not convinced you’re registered?

Every local authority holds the electoral register for their area. You can contact your local registration office and they will be able to let you know if you are registered.

To find the contact details of your local office, enter your postcode here on the Electoral Commission’s website.

What will I be asked?

This question will appear on your ballot paper: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

You’ll be given the option to put a cross next to “Remain” or “Leave”.

Where do I vote?

You can vote in the referendum in person at your local polling station – which you’ll be able to find the location of on the Electoral Commission’s website closer to voting day.

What happens if I'm at Glastonbury, for example, and can't vote in person?

Instead of voting in person, on the day, you can register for either a postal vote or a proxy vote.

For a postal vote: you will need to download this form and send it to your local registration office (mentioned above). This will need to arrive at the office by 5pm on 8 June 2016. Your local council will then send you a ballot paper by post, which will need to arrive back at the office by 10pm on 23 June.

The second option – a proxy vote – means allowing somebody you trust to vote on your behalf. Check here for the correct form to fire off.

The EU referendum debate has so far been characterised by bias, distortion and exaggeration. So until 23 June we we’re running a series of question and answer features that explain the most important issues in a detailed, dispassionate way to help inform your decision.

What is Brexit and why are we having an EU referendum?

Will we gain or lose rights by leaving the European Union?

What will happen to immigration if there's Brexit?

Will Brexit make the UK more or less safe?

Will the UK benefit from being released from EU laws?

Will leaving the EU save taxpayers money and mean more money for the NHS?

What will Brexit do to UK trade?

How Brexit will affect British tourism

What will Brexit mean for British tourists booking holidays in the EU?

Will Brexit help or damage the environment?

Will Brexit mean that Europeans have to leave the UK?

What will Brexit mean for British expats?

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