ON Thursday, October 5, Rutherglen and Hamilton West residents will head to the ballot box as polling experts and media watch closely.

It will be only the second time that the SNP has had to defend a seat at a Westminster by-election and this seat has become a key battleground. It has changed hands at the last three general elections, with the SNP taking it from Labour in 2015, Labour winning it back in 2017 and the SNP retaking it in 2019.

To win the seat on Thursday, Labour needs a swing in the share of the vote of 4.9 percentage points.

READ MORE: Rutherglen and Hamilton West: Where is it and what's the history of seat?

In other words, a net change of five in every 100 people who voted SNP in 2019 needs to switch sides to Labour.

The first thing everyone eligible to vote needs to know to make sure their vote is counted is where to vote.

Where is my polling station?

Your polling station is likely to be a public building such as a school or community hall close to your address.

The address should be printed on your polling card, which is delivered by post before an election.

If you don't have a poll card, you need to contact your local council. You can call South Lanarkshire Council on 0303 123 1019 or visit their website.

You must visit your assigned polling station – you cannot, for example, choose to visit one near your workplace.

When does my polling station close?

Stations will be open from 7am until 10pm, and you will be allowed to vote if you are in the queue before 10pm.

Polling stations tend to be busiest in the morning before school drop-off and after work, so it’s worth planning your trip.

Do I need to bring ID or my polling card to vote?

You do not need to take your polling card to the polling station.

Voters in Scotland now need to show photo ID to vote at polling places in some election – this includes by-elections.

You will only need to show one form of photo ID. It needs to be the original version and not a photocopy. A full list can be found here.

You can still use your photo ID if it's out of date, as long as it looks like you. The name on your ID should be the same name you used to register to vote.