Millions of people across the UK will cast their votes in the General Election on Thursday, choosing MPs in 650 constituencies and contributing to a national result which will decide who is the prime minister.

From photo ID to bringing furry friends, here is everything you need to know about what you should, and should not, do on the day itself.

– When do polling stations open and where should I go?

Polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm on July 4.

These are often found in schools, churches, community centres and libraries.

In 2022, voters in Oxford even cast their ballots inside a launderette.

All registered electors who are eligible to vote in the General Election should have received a polling card which includes the address of the polling station at which they may vote.

You cannot vote elsewhere.

The Electoral Commission, which oversees UK elections, also has an online tool which tells you where your polling station is.

You can also check on your local council’s website or contact them for more information.

– What do I do at the polling station?

You may have to queue outside before you get into the polling station as they can get very busy, especially towards the end of the day.

Once you are inside the polling station, the staff will check you are on the electoral register, ask for your photo ID and hand you a ballot paper.

Voter ID lawsPolling stations are often found in schools, churches and community centres (Ben Birchall/PA)

You should take this to a voting booth, read the instructions on it and mark the ballot paper with your vote.

You can then place it in the ballot box and leave the venue.

– What forms of ID should I bring?

This election is the first time in the UK that everyone wanting to vote in person will have to show a correct form of photo ID before casting a ballot – this includes a passport, driving licence and blue badge.

It does not matter if your photo ID is out of date, as long as it still looks like you and has the name under which you registered to vote.

Other forms of permitted ID include an Older Person’s or Disabled Person’s Bus Pass, and an identity card bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram (a Pass card).

– Do I need a polling card?

A polling card, which tells you when you can vote and at which polling station, is not required to cast your vote.

Simply tell the staff there your name and address when you arrive.

– What will my ballot paper look like?

Although the election news cycle is often dominated by party leaders, who have appeared in televised debates and regularly make headlines, those probably are not the names you will see in front of you.

Your ballot paper will offer a list of candidates representing political parties, or standing as independents, in your constituency.

General Election campaign 2024Your ballot paper will offer a list of candidates representing political parties, or standing as independents, in your constituency (Rui Vieira/PA)

There will usually be about seven options, made up of candidates representing the major parties, smaller parties or running as independents.

In some seats where there is more public interest, this number may be much higher.

Some 13 candidates are running in Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s constituency of Richmond and Northallerton, while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is among 12 names voters in Holborn and St Pancras can choose from.

– Can I vote for more than one person?

You are only allowed to vote for one candidate on the ballot paper, by putting a cross (X) in the box next to their name.

Leaving any other mark on the ballot paper, including voting for more than one candidate or party, or writing anything which could identify you or leads to doubt about who you intended to vote for, will result in the ballot paper not being counted.

Doing this on purpose is known as “spoiling” your ballot.

– What happens if I have not been able to vote by 10pm?

You are entitled to vote as long as you are inside the polling station or in a queue outside at 10pm.

General Election 2019You can vote as long as you are in the queue by 10pm (Victoria Jones/PA)

– What do I do if I cannot make it to the polling station on the day or lose my ID?

There are various reasons a person who intended to vote in-person at a polling station on election day may be unable to at short notice, such as a medical emergency, work requirements or loss of photo ID.

Under these circumstances, a prospective voter can apply for an emergency proxy vote where another person casts your ballot on your behalf.

They must take their own ID with them.

Applicants must send the relevant form to their local Electoral Registration Office by 5pm on polling day.

– Can I take my dog with me?

Usually, animals are not allowed inside polling stations, apart from assistance dogs.

Though the station’s presiding officer may theoretically give permission for pets to be taken inside, this is unlikely to be the case.

If you choose to bring a furry friend, they should be safely secured outside the venue – you can always chat politics with them on the way home.

– Can I take a selfie inside the polling station?

Photographs are not allowed inside polling stations as the Electoral Commission says this risks compromising the secrecy of the ballot.

Revealing how somebody else voted, even by accident, could land you with a £5,000 fine or up to six months in prison.

– What help is there for people with disabilities?

All polling stations should have accessibility measures in place to ensure disabled people can exercise their right to vote.

Northern Ireland council electionsAll polling stations should have measures in place to ensure disabled people can exercise their right to vote (Liam McBurney/PA)

This includes providing tactile voting devices, magnifiers and large-print sample ballot papers for voters who are visually impaired.

They should also provide seating for people who cannot stand for long periods of time and have measures for wheelchair users – such as ramps and low-level polling booths.

– Can I use my own pen or pencil?

Yes, voters are allowed to bring their own pen/pencil to fill in their ballot paper.

Though there is no legal requirement to use them, pencils are provided inside polling stations because they are less likely to leak or run than pens which use ink.

– What else can I not do inside a polling station?

Once inside a polling station, any form of political discussion, campaigning or canvassing is strictly prohibited.

This means you cannot debate your vote with friends, families or strangers.

You must also not be accompanied into the polling booth by another adult unless you have a disability, though your children may join you, provided they do not mark the ballot paper.

General Election 2019Official constituency outcomes are likely to be announced from 11.30pm (Joe Giddens/PA)

– When will I know the outcome of the General Election?

The first indication of how the election has gone on a national level is likely to be the exit polls, which are published shortly after 10pm.

These take place at about 144 polling stations across the country, with tens of thousands of people asked to privately fill in a replica ballot as they leave, to get an indication of how they voted.

Official constituency outcomes are likely to be announced from 11.30pm as early results trickle in.

This will speed up as the night progresses, with hundreds of results expected in the early hours of Friday morning, between 3am and 4am.

By 4am, enough results should be in to know which party is on course to win the election and by what margin.