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General and local elections 2010

  • Published: Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The general election will be held on Thursday 6 May 2010. Find out more about voting in UK elections, including registering to vote, eligibility and the different ways you can vote.

2010 elections

As well as the general election there will also be local elections across England. These take place on the same day: Thursday 6 May. These will take place in 166 local authorities. In most areas one third of the elected posts are up for election this year, but in some districts half the councillors will be elected.

The 32 London boroughs will hold elections of all the councillors in those areas. As well as this, the directly-elected mayors of three London boroughs and the Mayor of Watford will be facing the voters.

How to register to vote

Registration deadline

The deadline for registration for the May elections is Tuesday 20 April

You need to be registered to vote in UK elections. The deadline for registration for the May elections is Tuesday 20 April

Registering to vote is easy. You can register at any time by filling in a registration form and sending it to your local electoral registration office. But don't leave it to the last moment; the general election can be called at any time.

Who can vote at the elections?

You can vote in the UK general election if you are aged 18 or over on polling day and are either a British citizen, or a Commonwealth or Irish citizen resident in the UK. Some other groups - such as European Union citizens - can vote in local elections.

British citizens living abroad who have been registered to vote in the UK within the past 15 years can register as overseas voters.

How you can vote

Postal and proxy deadlines

The deadlines for new postal and proxy vote applications are 20 April and 27 April

You can vote in one of three ways – in person, by post or by getting someone to do it for you (a proxy vote).

Anyone can apply for a postal vote – you don't need to give a reason. However you must apply in advance. The deadline for new postal vote applications is 5.00 pm on Tuesday 20 April.

If you want to vote by proxy you will need to give a reason why you can’t vote yourself. Find out how to apply for a proxy vote. The deadline for new applications for proxy votes is 5.00 pm on Tuesday 27 April.

Help with voting

Help is available for people who find it difficult to reach their polling station, and for people who need another person's assistance in voting. By law polling stations must be accessible to disabled people.

Taking part in the elections

The Electoral Commission publishes information on the rules on who can stand as a candidate in general and local elections.

The closing date for nominations for candidates standing in the general election is 4.00 pm on Tuesday 20 April. For the local elections it is noon on Thursday 8 April 2010.

Campaigning, support and donations

There are rules around the registration of political parties in the UK, about political donations and support, and around campaign spending. The Electoral Commission provides detailed information on these subjects.

Election observers

Allowing people to observe elections is a way of making sure UK elections are fair and meet international standards. If you want to become an election observer, find out how.

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Additional links


Register to vote information

Read about registration, voting and taking part

Find your local MP

Find out the name of your local MP and how to contact them

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