Everything you need to know about the General Election Find out more

The current Conservative Government has called for a General Election, taking place on the 4 July 2024.  

This election is an opportunity to get your voice heard and make an impact on the future of your country and, more importantly,  your future.  

Can I vote in the General Election? 

You don’t necessarily have to be a British citizen to vote in the UK elections. If you are from a Commonwealth country, you may be eligible to vote. Check canivote.org.uk to find out for certain by doing a quick quiz.

Why has a General Election been called? 

In the UK, General Elections have to take place every five years. In 2019, following the last General Election, the Conservatives gave power to the Prime Minister to call an election at any time that suits within that five year period.  

It was thought that the General Election would take place in the second half of this year, to give the Conservatives more time to deliver on key pledges, but they have called it for 4 July.

How does a General Election work?

Each person gets one vote, and they vote for who they want to be their next Member of Parliament (MP).  

The UK is made up of 650 constituencies, and each consists of roughly the same amount of people. Each constituency is represented in Parliament by their MP.  

The Parliamentary candidates that will be hoping to get your vote will often be part of a political party, and the party with the most MPs elected forms the next Government.  

In the last General Election, the Conservative party saw 365 MPs elected, so won the election. 

How can I vote?

If you are eligible to vote, you then need to check you are registered. The deadline to register to vote is 18 June, so don't forget! You can register to vote on the .GOV website.

Once you are registered, you will receive a poll card in the post, showing you where your nearest polling station is. There are multiple ways you can vote.

Voting in person on election day at a polling station

Your local polling station is usually in a local school, church or community centre. You can also find out where your nearest polling station is online.

You can drop in between 07.00 and 22.00 on election day (4 July) and cast your vote.

You'll be required to bring a form of ID - find out more about valid forms of ID on the .GOV website.

You can get a free Voter ID for students from CitizenCard using the code NUS. The deadline to apply for one is the 20 June.

Voting by Postal Vote

You can cast your vote via the post if you register to do so before 19 June. You apply via your local Electoral Registration Office.

You'll need the address you are registered to vote at, your National Insurance number or other identification documents, and you'll also have to provide a signature.

Find out more on the .GOV website.

Vote by Proxy Vote - someone casts a vote for you on your behalf

You can get someone to vote on your behalf at the polling station on the day of the election if you cannot make it.

The person physically casts the vote on your behalf, so choose someone you trust and let them know who you would like them to vote for.

You'll need to apply before the 26 June to do this. You can apply for a proxy vote online.

I am moving house over the Summer – can I still vote? 

Yes of course! You can be registered to vote at both your home and term-time addresses as long as those addresses are not in the same constituency.  

If you are not at your home or term-time address on 4 July, you can arrange to do a postal vote. Remember, you can only vote once. Voting twice in an election is a criminal offence, so is voting for someone else unless it is as an official proxy voter.

Who should I vote for?

As a Union we cannot endorse or suggest parties or candidates. We have outlined what we think the next Government should do to best support students in the Russell Group Students' Unions manifesto.

This includes:

  • Commit to a full review and reform of higher education, increasing public investment in HE and reducing student fees in the long term.
  • Address the cost-of-living pressures experienced by students across the UK.
  • Strengthen the research and innovation culture in Universities.
  • Improve the quality and affordability of student accommodation.
  • Remove students from net migration targets and improve the UK visa system.

Read our analysis of what each party is promising and how they plan to support students.

More resources

Can I vote? Do a quick survey to see if you are eligible to vote.

Who can I vote for? Find out which candidates are running in your area.

Where do I vote? Find your local polling station.

FAQ for Students from the NUS.