The 2022 Local Elections are taking place today, and voters from across the region will be visiting schools, community halls and many other types of public buildings to cast their vote.
Residents who live within Birmingham City, Sandwell, or Solihull Council remit will have the opportunity to decide who they want to represent them in local government.
Polling stations have roughly the same opening times across the country, but there is plenty of information to know about them before you head out to vote.
As we approach polling day, here’s what you need to know about your nearest polling station, how to find out which is your polling station, and some of the do’s and don’ts when inside.
What time do polling stations open?
As with General Elections, polling stations across the country (including in and around Birmingham) have a universal opening time schedule.
To allow for an equal amount of time for people to vote in the election, polling stations are open between 7am and 10pm.
What happens when polling stations close?
After 10pm, votes are taken to a count, which is often held in a leisure centre or school hall.
Here, volunteers count up the votes. This is a task which can take up to several hours. This is why results of elections, both local and general, are often not confirmed until the following day.
In the 2022 local elections, we can expect to see results confirmed in the early hours of the afternoon on Friday, 6 May.
What are people voting for?
In Birmingham, Sandwell, and Solihull residents will be voting on council representatives on 5 May.
Seats are being contested on each of the three councils.
Can I take my children to a polling station?
Taking children along to the polling station when you cast your vote is something which is allowed by the Electoral Commission, the group which oversees election procedure in the UK.
In fact, taking children is encouraged as it is said to be a way of introducing them to democracy and showing how it works.
However, the commission do stress that you are not allowed to let your child give
Can I take my dog to a polling station?
One of the most iconic images on social media on polling day is that of a dog outside of a polling station.
Often something which trends on social media, taking your pooch to vote with you is a popular activity for many voters.
Generally, dogs are allowed into polling stations.
Those with more than two dogs are advised that it may be best practice to let a member of staff at the polling station hold the lead, as multiple dogs may make it difficult for the owner to cast their vote.
Unfortunately, your dog can’t vote for you - not even by proxy.
For more handy tips on dogs at polling station etiquette, check out ‘The Dog People’ website.
What are some of the other polling station rules?
There is a wide selection of things you can and can’t do in a polling station, a selection of these are below.
- Taking photographs/ selfies is not recommended as doing so could reveal what another person in the polling station has voted for, something which is illegal.
- You can wear clothing which contains political slogans when voting, but you must leave immediately after voting.
- You cannot discuss politics or candidates inside of a polling station, if overheard by staff you will be removed.