Answers to frequently asked questions about voting at elections and referendums
What is the council doing to combat electoral fraud?
In July 2014, the Electoral Commission published a report which recognised that the measures Tower Hamlets put in place to combat fraud were some of the most detailed and robust in the country and that our response, alongside the police, to allegations of fraud was prompt and thorough.
The council is building on the excellent electoral processes that we already have in place. We have set up an enhanced joint training operation for polling staff and police to ensure that any fraudulent activity at polling stations is immediately identified and dealt with; and strong partnership working between the council, Electoral Commission and police will ensure that any complaints during the elections are swiftly investigated and resolved.
A secure web portal has now been set up for reporting electoral malpractice that immediately permeates to all stakeholders with a reference supplied to the complainant.
If you wish to report any incident of electoral malpractice you can also do so anonymously by calling crimestoppers 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org.
Where is my polling station?
Prior to every election the council's Returning Officer will send a polling card to all registered electors details of how to vote, where and when to vote. On the card there is a map and the location of your allocated polling station and if you have a postal vote when that will be sent to you.
You can also check where your polling station is online. Visit polling station finder.
If you have not received your polling card, you should call the electoral registration office on 020 7364 0872 to check that you are registered to vote. Please bear in mind that the office will be extremely busy.
I have lost my polling card, can I still vote?
If you have lost your polling card, just go to your polling station and tell the staff your full name and address and you will be able to vote.
Do I need to take ID to the polling station?
You do not need to show ID to vote. You will need to tell polling staff your full name and address. They will then mark your name in the register and give you your ballot paper/s.
What happens in a polling station?
Please note that polling stations on Thursday May 6 will have extra Covid-19 health and safety measures in place to help keep voters and staff safe.
Please follow these instructions which will include social distancing, using hand sanitiser, wearing a face covering (unless you are exempt), and please bring your own pen or pencil. There will be spare pencils and face masks available if you forget yours, and voting areas will be regularly cleaned throughout the day.
When you arrive in the polling station please tell the staff your name and address so they can check that you are on the electoral register.
The staff at the polling station will give you the ballot papers for the elections and referendums being held and you then go to the polling booth to mark the ballot selecting your individual preference.
Do not make any other mark on the ballot paper or your vote may not be counted.
Tower Hamlets Council, the Returning and Counting Officer, the Metropolitan Police and the Electoral Commission work together to support all voters in casting their votes securely and that you exercise your right to vote yourself and that you do so in secret.
For more information visit the Your Vote is Yours Alone campaign page.
What time are the polling stations open?
Polling stations will be open from 7am-10pm. The location of your polling station is printed on your poll card or you can find your polling station via our ‘postcode finder’ go to polling station finder.
I have lost/not received my postal vote?
We can issue a replacement postal vote pack from the Town Hall, Mulberry Place, 5 Clove Crescent, London, E14 2BG if it is lost or spoiled.
If you have mistakenly destroyed your postal pack you cannot obtain a replacement. If you have spoiled your paper/pack please bring that with you and we will cancel that pack. You must bring two forms of ID with you, one with a photograph.
The first date that an application to apply for a replacement pack is Thursday 29 April 2021 and the deadline to apply for a replacement for a spoilt or lost postal vote pack is 5pm, on Thursday 6 May 2021.
When will the votes be counted?
Following the verification of ballot papers after polls close on Thursday 6 May, the counting of votes cast in Tower Hamlets for the GLA, Mayor of London and the two local referendums, take place at the Excel Centre on Saturday 8 May.
The results will be available on the council's website and social media once they’re declared.
Please note that entry into the count venue is strictly by invitation only.
How do you know that people who are voting are legitimate?
The council has worked hard to ensure that the borough’s electorate are correctly registered under Individual Electoral Register (IER) ensuring everyone’s details have been verified before adding them to the register.
During the election process, the council also carry out additional checks on late applications to register and where practicable will check all addresses with more than six persons registered to vote.
I can’t find my polling station using the interactive map – the page doesn’t load up
This is unfortunate but during busy periods our maps take longer to load onto the system. Please contact us and we can have a look for you.
I can’t get to a polling station – I’m just going to get a friend to go for me
While it is not necessary to show ID to vote, this is an electoral offence. Presiding Officers at Polling Stations have to follow a statutory process and they may ask electors specific questions to enable them to identify who the elector is and establish that they are the person entitled to vote.
Consequently, there are serious implications if someone acts on your behalf and votes for you unofficially and potentially commits an offence.
Please contact the elections team on 020 7364 0872 and we will advise you accordingly and it might be possible for you to appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf. This is subject to an official application and deadline so contact the office as soon as possible.
The deadlines for proxy and postal vote applications has now passed for the elections and referendums on Thursday 6 May 2021.
If after 5pm on Tuesday 27 April 2021, an elector finds they can’t attend the polling station on these grounds:
- medical emergency
Emergency proxy applications can be applied for up to 5pm on 6 May 2021.
More detail on emergency proxies can be found on the Electoral Commission website
Where can I find out more information about elections in Tower Hamlets?
Ring our helpline: 020 7364 0872 or go to the elections and voting page.
How to contact us
5 Clove Crescent
Tel: 020 7364 0872
Fax: 020 7364 3758