Elections - Voting
Information on voting and the
different types of elections in the United Kingdom.
British Sign Language (BSL)
Election and Referendum information is available on the
Electoral Commission's Website
On this page
Who can Vote at an Election?
Only persons whose name appears on the Register of Electors
are entitled to vote.
To vote at Parliamentary or Local Elections (District, Parish
and County Elections), a person must also:
- Be eighteen years or older on polling day.
- Be a British, Commonwealth, Irish or European Union
- Not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote, such as being
European Union citizens (other than British or Irish Citizens)
are only entitled to vote at Local Elections and European
Parliamentary Elections. There is no entitlement to vote at
UK Parliamentary Elections.
Overseas electors (eligible British citizens living abroad)
may register and vote at Parliamentary and European Parliamentary
Elections only for a period of up to 15 years after they have left
the country. There is no entitlement to vote at Local
If you are in any doubt as to whether or not you are
registered, please contact Access to Services or telephone us on
01653 600666 for information.
You will receive a poll card prior to the Election advising
you of your Electoral Number, the date of the Election and where
your polling station is situated. At the polling station there will
be information to tell you how to vote and how many candidates you
can vote for.
There are different rules for each type of Election:
UK Parliamentary Elections
The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 introduced fixed-term
elections for the first time to the Westminster parliament. Under
the provisions of the Act, parliamentary elections must be held
every five years, beginning in 2015.
The Act also provides for two ways in which a general election
can be held before the end of this five-year period:
If the House of Commons resolves "That this House has no
confidence in Her Majesty's Government", an early general election
is held, unless the House of Commons then resolves "That this House
has confidence in Her Majesty's Government" within fourteen days of
the first resolution.
If the House of Commons, with the support of two-thirds of its
total membership (including vacant seats), resolves "That there
shall be an early parliamentary general election".
In either of these two cases, the monarch (on the
recommendation of the Prime Minister) appoints the date of the new
election by proclamation. Parliament is then dissolved 17 working
days before that date.
European Parliamentary Elections
European Parliamentary Elections are every five years. The
previous European Parliamentary Election was held on Thursday, 4
June 2009 in conjunction with North Yorkshire County Council
Local Government Elections
Elections in Ryedale for the District, Parishes and County
Council are held every four years.
Ryedale District Council Elections
The District is divided into 20 wards for the purposes of
District Elections, with each Ward returning between one and three
Councillors. The total number of Councillors representing the
District is 30.
District Councils can choose between "all out Elections" every
four years or can opt for annual Elections, with one third of
Councillors retiring each year for three years. In Ryedale, all out
Elections are held every four years. The last District Council
Election was on 5 May 2011. Local Government Elections are normally
held on the first Thursday in May.
The District of Ryedale is divided into 121 Parishes, of which
91 Parishes are large enough to have their own Parish Councillors.
The remaining Parishes hold regular Parish Meetings.
Every Parish must have an Annual Parish Meeting, which all
local government electors for the Parish are entitled to attend.
Elections for Parish/Town Council Elections are held at the same
time as District Elections and Parish/Town Councillors are elected
for a term of four years.
County Council Elections
Ryedale District is divided into six County Divisions, each
returning one elected Councillor to North Yorkshire County Council.
The six Divisions are Hovingham and Sheriff Hutton; Kirkbymoorside;
Malton; Norton; Pickering; Thornton Dale and the Wolds.
County Council Elections are held every four years and are
normally held on the first Thursday in May. The last County Council
Election was on 2 May 2013.
Nominating Candidates and
You will only be able to nominate a candidate at an Election
if your name appears on the last Register of Electors to be
published before the Notice of Election is published.
You will only be able to vote at an Election if your
application to appear on the Register has been accepted by the
eleventh working day before the poll takes place. For example, in
the May 2007 Elections, you could have nominated a candidate if
your name appeared on the Register published on 1 March 2007 and
you could also have voted if your name was included on the Register
by 18 April 2007.
- If you are a British, Irish, Commonwealth or European Union
Citizen, you need to be on the Electoral Register to be able to
vote and you must register every year. You are not automatically
registered, even if you pay Council Tax.
- If you want to restrict who has access to your name and address
on the Electoral Register, you must tell the Electoral Registration
Officer that you want to ‘opt out’.
- If you move house, you can register at your new address at any
time of the year - don't just wait for the next Canvass to take
- If you're living away from home (eg as a student), you can
register at more than one address, but you can only vote once in
any single election.
- Registration can take place eleven working days before polling
Absent Voting Applications
From 1st January 2007, every new absent voting application
must include the applicant's signature and date of birth to be
valid. The Regulations prescribe that:
- All applications require the date of birth to be supplied in a
- All applications must have the signature supplied.
- Where a postal vote is to be sent to an address other than the
registered address, a reason for this redirection must be
- Where applicable, please give the reason why a signature is
unable to be provided and the name and address of any person who
has assisted the application.
These provisions are in addition to the existing requirements
for absent vote applications, namely that:
- They must be in writing and be dated by the applicant
- They must include the full name of the applicant
- They must include the registration address or for a postal
proxy application, the elector's name and address and the proxy's
name and address
- They must include the address where the postal ballot paper
should be sent, and if this is not the registration address, a
reason for this re-direction
- On proxy applications, they must include the reason for the
application and attestation if it is for more than a single
Where an applicant is unable to provide a signature, they may
request that the Electoral Registration Officer waive the
requirement for a signature. Any such request must include
the reason(s) for it, along with the name and address of any person
who has assisted them with the completion of the application.
Existing Absent Voters
By law, all Electoral Registration Officers had to send a
Notice after 1st January 2007, to all existing postal, proxy and
postal proxy voters, requiring them to supply a specimen of their
signature and their date of birth. Reminders were sent to
anyone who had not replied, and if no further response was received
from the elector, by law the postal/proxy voting status of that
elector was cancelled with effect from 42 days after the
Timescales for Making Absent Vote Applications Prior
- The latest date for making a new application for a postal
vote is 5 pm, eleven days before Polling Day.
- The latest date for making a new application for a proxy vote
is 5 pm, six days before Polling Day.
- The latest date for amending an existing postal or postal
proxy application is 5 pm eleven days before Polling Day.
- In the case of a medical emergency on the grounds of unforeseen
physical incapacity, a proxy application can be received up until
5pm on the day of poll.
Application forms for a postal or proxy vote are available
opposite or can be obtained from Democratic Services.