Millions of voters across the UK are expected to cast their ballots in a series of elections today.
Thousands of local council seats are up for grabs in England, Scotland and Wales, while in Northern Ireland voters will choose the make-up of the Stormont assembly.
Although the nation voted in an extensive array of local polls last year, for many people it might be a little while since they cast a ballot, or their first time voting.
Here’s when you need to turn up at your polling station on Thursday, and everything you need to know about how to vote.
Polling station opening times today
Polling stations around the UK will be open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday 5 May.
However, you will still be allowed to vote in the elections as long as you join the queue before closing time.
Polling stations tend to be busiest before school and after work, so it’s worth bearing that in mind when you plan your trip.
The majority of people voting in the UK will cast their ballot at a polling station, and the deadlines for postal votes and proxy votes have passed – although certain people may be eligible for an emergency proxy vote.
If you weren’t able to send off your postal vote in time, then you can take your postal vote either to your polling station or your local Electoral Registration Office (which you can find here) before 10:00pm on polling day.
Where is my polling station?
The location of your polling station will be included on the poll card sent to you in the post – it is likely to be a public building such as a school or community hall close to your address.
However, if you have misplaced or not received your card, you can check on the Electoral Commission website by entering your postcode here.
If that doesn’t have the details of your polling station, the website will have the local council contacts you need to double check.
How can I vote in local elections?
You do not need to take your poll card to the polling station in order to vote anywhere in the UK.
While you do not need to supply identification to in England, Wales or Scotland, you must bring a photo ID in Northern Ireland.
This can be a passport, driving licence, Electoral Identity Card or certain types of Translink Smartpass – full details can be found here.
Once you have arrived at your polling station, you will be given a ballot paper (or more than one, if you are voting in multiple elections) listing the parties and candidates you can vote for.
Read these carefully and then cast your vote with one of the pencils provided (you can bring your own pen or pencil if you prefer), before folding your ballot paper in half and putting it into the ballot box.
If you make a mistake, you can ask for a new ballot paper (as long as you haven’t put it in the ballot box yet) – a member of staff will be able to help you.
Are there local elections in my area?
If you are unsure about what’s going on in your local area you can visit the online checker “Who Can I Vote For?”, created by the Democracy Club.
There, you can enter your postcode and it will tell you which votes are taking place in your area on 5 May, or if there are no elections there this year.
With so many elections taking place, there are of course many thousands of candidates to choose from.
Fortunately, that handy “Who Can I Vote For?” tool will also give you details of anyone standing in elections taking place in your area.
Clicking on each candidate’s name will also take you through their profile page, which can contain useful information such as their contact details and social media channels to help inform your decision.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.