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An Essential Guide To The General Election 2024

Your guide to deadlines, voting and voter ID, candidate debates and more...

By Kirsten Koss

Last week, in the pouring rain, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the long anticipated General Election would take place on Thursday, 4 July. But with only 38 days to go until the General Election, here is your student-friendly essential guide to everything you need to know.


It’s a big year

Every election is billed as the ‘biggest one yet’, but this really could be the biggest election for a generation. A recent YouGov poll showed that 59% of Brits would be unhappy with another win by the Conservative party.


If Keir Starmer ends up in Number 10, he will be the first Labour prime minister since most students were stacking blocks in primary school.


Am I eligible to vote?

With different rules for different elections across the UK, don’t worry if you’re feeling a bit lost – you most definitely are not alone.


To vote in a General Election where the 650 members of the House of Commons are elected, you must be aged 18 or older on the date of the election and be British, Irish or a citizen of a qualifying Commonwealth country. You must also be living in the UK – or be registered to vote abroad if you don’t live in the UK.


How does it work?

The UK Parliament uses the First-Past-the-Post system which means that the candidate with the most votes in each constituency wins. The political party with the most seats will then form a government – provided they have the magic number of 326 seats in the Common. If Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer fail to take over half of the seats, we could see a coalition government.


Your voting need-to-knows…

There are lots of dates for your diary – so here is a key breakdown of everything you need to know.



If you want to vote in the upcoming general election, you must register to vote by midnight on Tuesday, 18 June.


If you are not sure whether or not you are registered to vote, contact your local electoral registration office. The Electoral Commission has a handy checker where you can find out information about your seat, and your local electoral services team.

If you are a student living away from home, you can register to vote at both your home address and your term time address.

All you have to do is make sure you only vote once.


How do I vote?

There are a number of different ways that you can cast your vote.


If you want to vote in person, polling stations across the UK will open at 07:00 and close at 22:00 on election day. The location of your polling station will be printed on your polling card, which will arrive at your registered address ahead of the election.

If you are voting in person, you must bring your photo ID. This is the first year that voter ID has been required at a general election, so don’t get caught out! There is a handy list of accepted forms on the website, but forms of ID like driving licences, Young Scot cards and UK and EU passports are all accepted.


Once you have been given your ballot paper, you may vote for your preferred candidate in a secret ballot.


If you’re not going to be able to vote in person, you can opt for a postal or proxy vote.


If you wish to cast your vote by post, you must register to do so by 17:00 on Wednesday 19th June. This is a good option if you want to vote but won’t be in town. Voting is done in the same way as at a polling station and will be valid so long as you vote for only one candidate. If you forget to send it back, you can take it to your local polling station, or the Electoral Registration Office by 22:00 on the day to make sure your vote is counted.


You can also apply to vote by proxy which is where you appoint a trusted individual – who must also be registered to vote – to vote on your behalf. If you wish to vote by proxy, you must apply by 17:00 on Wednesday, 26 June.


Not sure who to vote for?

Never fear – The Gaudie has you covered!

We won’t tell you who to vote for, but we are organising a handy debate made up of candidates from the Aberdeen North and Aberdeen South constituencies.

With incumbent Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman already confirmed, alongside Guy Ingerson from The Greens and Charlie Abel fron ALBA, it’s set to be an exciting evening – and a great opportunity to help you to make up your mind!

Follow our News pages on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on the details of our hustings!


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