Election 2015: How the BBC reports polling day

By Ric Bailey
BBC's Chief Adviser, Politics

image source, Getty Images
image captionVoting in the UK is taking place between 07:00 and 22:00 BST

Strict rules mean the BBC, like other broadcasters, isn't allowed to report details of campaigning while the polls are open.

In all national elections, the BBC is legally required both by its own charter and electoral law to adopt a code of practice.

The basic principle behind this is the need for due impartiality of political coverage, as set out in the agreement accompanying the BBC Charter.

This requires the BBC over time to "give due weight and prominence to all the main strands of argument and to all the main parties."

So, on polling day specifically, the BBC (like other broadcasters, though they are covered by the Ofcom code rather than a charter) doesn't report on any of the election campaigns from 00.30 until polls close at 22.00 BST on TV, radio or bbc.co.uk.

However, online sites will not have to remove archived reports.

Coverage will be restricted to uncontroversial factual accounts, such as the appearance of politicians at polling stations or the weather.

Subjects which have been at issue or part of the campaign - or other controversial matters relating to the election - must not be covered on polling day, so the BBC's output cannot be seen as influencing the ballot while the polls are open.

No opinion poll on any issue relating to politics or the election can be published until after the polls have closed.

Whilst the polls are open, it is a criminal offence to publish anything about the way in which people have voted in that election.

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