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Polling Station sign

“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!

Upcoming Elections

The next UK General Election will take place on 4 July 2024. This is where you vote for your Member of Parliament (MP) and this in turn determines which political party forms the UK Government. Because government policy affects every part of daily life, not just your university education, it’s really important you have your say!

There is lots of information on this page (and we’ll be keeping it update as we get closer to election day) to help you as prepare for the General Election.

If you’re over 18 years old AND a British, Irish, or qualifying Commonwealth citizen AND you’re registered to vote, you’ll be able to vote in this election.


Your election checklist for 4 July

  • I’ve registered to vote at my Exeter address (if your tenancy is still valid on 4 July) and my “home” address (if not in Exeter). Deadline: Tue 18 June.
  • I’ve checked where I will be on 4 July and if I need to apply for / update a postal or proxy vote. Deadline: 17.00 Wed 19 June (or 26 June for new proxy votes).
  • I’ve checked I’ve got suitable photo ID, or applied for a free Voter Authority Certificate (by Thu 26 June) or free CitizenCard (by 20 June).
  • I’ve voted at my polling station, 7.00-22.00 on Thu 4 July.

Check our Election Questions section for more info.

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.

See the full list of elections.

Elections: Your Questions Answered

To vote in Exeter elections, you must:

  • 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:

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).

Yes, you need government approved photographic identification in order to vote at a polling station. This has been the law since 2023 and applies in all English elections.

Accepted forms of ID include a UK passport, driving licence (including provisional), or Blue Badge (see the full list of accepted ID). If your document is expired, it can still be used as long as the photo still looks like you. 

The following are NOT accepted as photo ID at elections: your university card, workplace ID, or photocopies of originals.

There are options to get free voter ID in order to vote (make your arrangement in enough time for your ID to arrive before election day):


  1. Get a Voter Authority Certificate from the Government. 
  1. Get a free CitizenCard using NUS (the National Union of Students) offer code. This can be used as proof of age for activities other than voting.

For more information on voter ID, see the Electoral Commission.