I’m passionate about politics and excited about the upcoming general election. In my role as Anchor’s Customer Communications Manager I spend a lot of time talking to the older people living with us and so I know many are looking forward to having their say on 7 May as much as me.

But I also know that there can be particular challenges for some older people in casting their vote at the local polling station. As I tell those I meet every day, this need not be a barrier, some forward planning can ensure no one loses out on their right to have a say.

At Anchor we want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to vote. In the run-up to the 2015 election we will support the older people living with us, particularly in our care homes, to ensure their voices are heard.

We’ve created a quick guide to voting in the 7 May 2015 General Election which you can both read below and download for free here.

Registering to vote

Voting and registering to vote can be done from the comfort of your own home, but act soon as the deadline for registering to vote is fast approaching.

To vote in the upcoming general election you need to be on the electoral register. You are responsible for registering yourself and must do this by 20 April 2015.

You can register to vote online at Gov.UK or if you prefer you can download a form here which you must then complete and send off.

If in doubt you can always contact the local electoral office. You can find details of your local office at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.

It only takes five minutes to register online. You will be asked for some information to identify yourself such as date of birth and national insurance number. You will also be asked about how you would like to vote. You can vote:

  • at a polling station on 7 May 2015
  • by post
  • by proxy (getting someone else to cast your vote for you)

Casting your vote

  1. Polling stations
    If you prefer to go to the polling station but are worried about it being inaccessible because of a disability you might have then your local Electoral Registration Office can tell you about:
       • physical access, for example the existence of wheelchair ramps and disabled parking spaces at the location
       • low-level polling booths
       • equipment for voters with a visual impairment
    Every polling station must provide at least one large print display version of the ballot paper and a special device so that blind and visually impaired people can vote.
  2. Postal vote
    If you are less mobile and prefer or need to vote from your home you can vote by post. When registering you need to select the ‘postal vote’ option. When you receive your postal vote follow the directions enclosed and send the paper back as soon as possible so your vote is counted. As part of the information you will be told of the deadline to return your vote.
  3. Proxy vote
    Another way of voting is by a proxy vote. This is where you get someone you trust to vote on your behalf. You can do this under certain circumstances, including:
       • being abroad on election day
       • having a medical condition or disability
    You’ll need to give the reason why you’re applying for a proxy vote. In most cases, you’ll also need someone to sign your application form to confirm these reasons. The application form will tell you who needs to sign it. The person you have chosen to cast your proxy vote must be registered to vote in the election. For more details and copies of the form go to Gov.UK.

There are a number of useful websites providing further information, including https://www.gov.uk/voting-in-the-uk/overview and  www.gov.uk/yourvotematters. The main thing is you take action and ensure you have your say on 7 May.

Download our guide to Voting in the 2015 General Election

Natalie Oates is Anchor’s Customer Communications Manager

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