Voting in Local and National Elections

“Decisions are made by those who show up.”
Aaron Sorkin, The West Wing.

As your democratically-run Students’ Guild, 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. It is also why we encourage our students to also vote in local and national elections – this page explains how you can do this.

Upcoming Local Election - Thursday 5 May 2022

On 5 May there will be elections in Exeter for the City Council and other local and regional elections across the UK. This will be your chance to shape who will be responsible for representing you locally and accountable for vital services we rely on day-to-day.

More information is provided by Exeter City Council.


What elections are there?

In Exeter, there are a number 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. A full list of elections can be found here.


Who can vote?

In order to be able 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.

Different elections around the country have different eligibility which can be found here.

If you are an international student, you might want to consider absentee voting if that is a possibility while you are in the UK (your embassy will be able to give you guidance on this).

Every student member of the Student Guild is eligible to vote in our student elections.


How do I vote in local or national election?

Firstly, you need to 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 do this 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.


Why should I vote?

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).


More information and Getting Involved

Information about voting:

Get in touch with your local representatives:

Or your might want to join one of our political student societies

Accessibility Tools

University of Exeter Students' Guild is a Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Charity Number: 1136468 Company Number: 07217324; registered in England and Wales Registered office: Devonshire House, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4PZ