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EU referendum: What you need to know about polling day and what happens next

By Jemma Crew and Ian Jones

Published 23/06/2016

Today, the UK will vote on whether to remain a member of the EU or leave - a decision that looks as if it will go down to the wire. Here is everything you need to know about polling day and its immediate aftermath.

HOW DO I VOTE?

There are three ways to vote — in person, by post or by proxy. The deadline for the second two methods has now passed. People who are intending to vote in person should make their way to their nearest polling station today.

If you have a medical emergency on the day, you will be able to apply for an emergency proxy vote — as long as you do so before the deadline of 5pm.

You can also apply to vote by emergency proxy if your occupation, service or employment means you cannot go to the polling station in person, and you only became aware of that fact after the proxy vote deadline.

WHAT WILL BE ON THE BALLOT PAPER?

Voters will be asked: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”. They will then need to choose whether they want to “Remain a member of the European Union” or “Leave the European Union” by placing a cross in the appropriate box.

WHEN CAN I VOTE?

Polling stations open at 7am. You do not need your polling card to vote — but in Northern Ireland you will need to bring a correct form of photo ID. At 10pm the polls will close.

If voter turnout is very high, there may be queues at some polling stations. As long as you are in the queue before the 10pm cut-off, you will be able to vote.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER ALL THE VOTES ARE CAST?

When the polls close, counting will begin across the United Kingdom. The country has been divided into 382 voting areas, each of which will declare its own result.

The overall result for the whole of the UK will be announced only when all 382 areas have declared.

WHO WILL BE COVERING IT ON TELEVISION?

BBC, ITV and Sky will be providing live coverage into the night after the polls close.

WHEN WILL WE HAVE SOME IDEA OF THE RESULT?

It depends — if one side is heading for a clear majority of votes, then this should be evident by around 6am.

However, if the results keep both sides neck-and-neck, it might not be until the final declaration is made that we know what the UK has decided.

Unlike the 2015 general election, there will not be an official exit poll giving an indication of which way the votes are leaning.

This is because there is thought to be too great a margin of error in a contest that is predicted to be very close.

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