“Decisions are made by those who show up.” Aaron Sorkin, The West Wing
Democracy is central to your Students’ Guild, and we passionately believe that political engagement through voting is an important way we can engage in decision- and change-making.
That’s why we hold elections for our student leaders, and why we encourage students to vote in local and national elections. For us, democracy is a big deal!
What Elections Are There?
In Exeter, there are some different types of election you could vote in:
- General Election (for your MP – Member of Parliament).
- Local Elections (for your councillors for Exeter City Council and Devon County Council).
- Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Devon and Cornwall.
You can also be registered to vote at your ‘home address’. Depending on where in the UK it is, you may have a combination of the above elections and ones for the devolved nations and regions.
There are no upcoming elections in Exeter, but we'll let you know when new elections are announced.
Elections: Your Questions Answered
To vote in Exeter elections, you must:
- Be registered to vote at your Exeter address.
- Not be legally excluded from voting.
- Be 18 years old or older on election day.
- Be a British, Irish, or qualifying Commonwealth citizen. For local and PCC elections you can also be an EU citizen.
- To vote in-person at a polling station, you must also have an accepted photo ID or a Voter Authority Certificate (list of accepted forms of ID and more information).
Different elections around the country have different eligibility which can be found here.
If you are an international student, you could consider absentee voting while you are in the UK (your embassy will be able to give you guidance on this).
Every student member of the Student’s Guild is eligible to vote in our student elections.
Firstly, make sure you’re registered to vote at your address. You can be registered to vote at your ‘home address’ and your ‘university address’.
You can vote only once in a particular election. For general elections, you can vote either at home or in Exeter (not both as it is considered the same election). For local elections, you vote in the election at home and the election in Exeter (providing they are different council areas as they are separate elections). See the Electoral Commission’s guidance for students.
It’s easiest to register as soon as you’ve moved house, but you can do it at any time (but you need to do it enough time before election in order to meet the deadline). You can register to vote online.
Once you’re registered, in the weeks before election you will receive by post a polling card informing you of the upcoming election.
You can vote:
- in person at a polling station (you will need photo ID)
- by post
- by asking someone else to vote for you (voting by proxy)
If you are currently in another country (for example, on a year aboard) there is guidance on how you can still vote from abroad.
While it is not compulsory to vote in the UK, we think it is really important – especially for students. Voting in general elections will help shape national policy which effects higher education and student finance. Voting in local election will shape policy on housing and planning (including student accommodation) and personal safety (licencing of clubs and taxis, street lighting, and police resources).