When do the polls open and how do I vote? Everything you need to know about referendum day


It's nearly referendum day! But don't freak out, we've got it covered.

From what's on the ballot paper to what TV to watch, follow our handy guide to Thursday 23rd June, aka the biggest day of the year...okay maybe just for us politics geeks.

How do I vote?

A dog waits for it's owner as he votes in the European elections at a polling station in Innerleithen in the Scottish Borders.
(David Cheskin/PA)

There are three ways to vote - in person, by post or by proxy. People intending to vote in person should make their way to their nearest polling station on Thursday.

Those who have applied for a postal vote will cast their votes by post ahead of Thursday, and others will have nominated others to vote on their behalf - known as a proxy vote. The deadline for this has now passed.

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.

When can I vote?

A Conservative party worker sits outside a polling station at Kitson Hall in Barnes.
(Andrew Matthews/PA)

Polling stations open at 7am. You do not need your polling card to vote - but if you live in Northern Ireland you will need to bring a correct form of photo ID.

At 10pm the polls will close. If voter turnout is particularly 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 will be on the ballot paper?

The proposed ballot for the EU referendum.
(Jonathan Brady/PA)

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.

What happens when everyone has cast their votes?

Count volunteers count ballot papers at the Latton Bush Centre, Southern Way, Harlow, Essex, as counting begins across the UK in local council elections.
(Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

When the polls close, counting will begin across the UK. 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?

 Emily Maitlis (left), David Dimbleby (centre) and Mishal Husain at the SSE Arena Wembley ahead of The Great Debate on the EU referendum.
(Jeff Overs/BBC)

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

The climax of the live TV debates will be Europe: The Final Debate on Channel 4 on the eve of the referendum. Hosted by Jeremy Paxman, the line-up includes Admiral Lord West, Alan Johnson, Alastair Campbell, Alex Salmond, Nigel Farage and Theo Paphitis.

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 which is predicted to be very close.

What are the key results to watch out for?


As you can see, it's going to be a long and eventful night!