Do I need a polling card or ID to vote in the general election? Can I take photos at the polling station? Voting rules explained

If you've registered to vote in today's UK general election and know where your polling station is, here's what you need to know when you arrive to vote.

The UK is heading to the polls on Thursday for the fourth general election this decade, with much of the electorate experiencing a palpable sense of déjà vu.

However, there are plenty of people across the nation who haven't voted before, while it's entirely possible that rustiness might have set in for others since the 2015 and 2017 elections.But having negotiated all of these potential obstacles, what do you actually need with you when you get there? Here's everything you need to know.

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The UK will go to the polls tomorrow. Picture: JPIMedia

If you live in Scotland, England or Wales, you do not need to take anything with you if you are registered to vote – not even your poll card or ID.

Although you do not need your card to cast a vote, you will need to give the staff your name and address.

When you turn up at the station you then will be given a ballot paper where you select the parliamentary candidate to vote for.

However, if you are a voter in Northern Ireland, you will need to show a form of photo ID – it doesn't have to be within date, but the only forms accepted are:

-UK or Irish passport-UK, Irish or EEA driving licence-Translink Senior Smartpass-Translink 60+ Smartpass-Translink War Disabled Smartpass-Translink Blind Person's Smartpass-An Electoral Identity Card

If you applied for a postal vote then you need to send it to your local authority by 10pm on Thursday 12 December.

However, even if you leave it too late to post, you also have the option to take it to your local polling station – this must be done between 7am and 10pm on polling day.

If your ballot paper is lost or damaged, ask your local Electoral Registration Office to send you another one. Find the contact details for the office here.

Alternatively, you can collect a new paper from your local Electoral Registration Office up to 5pm on election day, or the day before in Northern Ireland.Will voter ID but needed at future elections?

The government outlined plans requiring voters to bring a photo ID to the polling station in the Queen's Speech in October.

Based on research conducted by the former Tory cabinet minister Sir Eric Pickles in 2016, the Electoral Integrity bill followed voter ID trials across 15 local council elections over the past two years.

Jeremy Corbyn condemned the plans as "discriminatory", describing them as a "blatant attempt" to suppress voters.

He cited figures from an Electoral Commission report that a potential 11 million UK citizens – around a quarter of the electorate – do not have access to a passport or photographic driving licence.

The Labour leader said: "The people that the Tories are trying to stop voting will be disproportionately from ethnic minority backgrounds and they will disproportionately be working-class voters of all ethnicities."

However, a spokesperson for the Government said that the proposed law was "vital" to "ensure that everyone's vote counts and strengthen public trust in our democracy."

Can you take a pictureWhile there is no specific law that prohibits taking photos, the UK Electoral Commission strongly discourages any photography inside a polling station, due to the complex laws about maintaining the secrecy of the ballot.

Taking a 'ballot selfie' is probably not a good idea.

The Electoral Commission's advice is: "Taking photos inside the polling station isn't allowed as it might risk the secrecy of the ballot.

"You are more than welcome to take photos outside the polling station, and share them on social media to encourage your friends and family to vote.

In addition, you likely will see "no photography" signs inside many polling stations.

What time do the polling stations open?

Polling stations will open at 7am and close at 10pm on Thursday – this is the same across the UK, no matter your location.

There's a 15-hour window of opportunity to vote on polling day, which should give you ample time to get down to your polling station to cast your ballot.

However, if you are delayed and are cutting things fine, the Electoral Commission says: "Any eligible electors who at 10pm are in a queue at their polling station for the purposes of voting (whether that queue is inside or continues on outside the station) must be allowed to vote."

You can only vote at the location stated on your poll card – so don't try to turn up elsewhere on election day.

The polling station is likely to be a public building, such as a school or community hall, near to your home address.

Find out where your nearest polling station is here.

A version of this article appeared on our sister site iNews.