Contractors, off to vote? Know before you go

The snap general election 2017 that led to IR35 reforms being rubber-stamped and Making Tax Digital being dropped (for now), goes ahead today, Thursday 8th June.

Before you set out to vote, potentially because you liked or disliked a contractor-related pledge in the political parties’ manifestos, you need to know where to go.

Where do I vote?

You can find out by using this online, non-partisan polling station finder. Enter your postcode and your voting location should pop up.

Alternatively, you can ring your local election office and ask where your polling station is.

Or you can check what’s written on the polling card that should have already been posted through your front door. It will display a map of where you need to go.

When can I vote?

But however you find out where you must vote (polling stations are assigned, so you can’t walk into one during your lunch break because you work nearby), don’t hang about.

All polling stations shut their doors at 22.00, so you make sure you get inside before then.

If you turn up after the 10 o’clock cut-off, you could potentially qualify for an emergency proxy vote.

However, you’d need to apply. In addition, these are reserved for voters who have encountered a serious problem, such as having to go to hospital.

What do I do at the polling station?

When you arrive to vote (stations open from 0700), you should instantly know you’ve come to the right place.

‘Polling Station’ will likely be displayed in big, capitalised black letters on a white background. You do not need your polling card to gain entry or successfully cast your vote.

You also do not have to stop for pollster staff standing outside the station. They may be there simply to check who’s voted but such people (‘tellers’) may ask for your voting number on your polling card.

Where do I go inside the polling station?

Once inside, approach the seated staff and give your name and address. You will then be handed a ballot paper.

Next, make your way into the polling booth so nobody can see how you vote. Read the instructions on the paper, and pick up the pencil provided (you can use your own if you’ve brought one along, or a pen).

How do I vote?

In following the instructions, you will mark your ballot paper with a cross (x) next to the name of your preferred candidate.

Be careful not to mark the paper in any other way, and resist writing any words. Doing so will invalidate your vote.

But if you make a mistake, tell the seated staff and they will provide a new ballot paper and take the unwanted one away from you.

If you wish to vote for no candidate, and wish to register your decision to abstain, you can do so by writing ‘NONE’ across the ballot paper and putting a single line (/) through all the boxes. An illustration is available.

Finally, fold your completed ballot paper in half (keeping your vote hidden), and potentially show the back to a station staff member (typically the ‘presiding officer’). Then pop the paper into the ballot box.

Regardless of how you vote, and whether it will be for one of the ‘big three’ or not, keep your decision to yourself as you leave the station.

Wednesday 7th June 2017