Apply for a postal or proxy vote
As long as you have registered to vote and are on the electoral register you can apply for a postal vote – this means you don’t need to visit your polling station in person.
You can continue to have a postal vote for as long as you stay at the same address, but you must re-apply if you move or change your name.
Where can my postal vote be sent?
It can be sent to either your home address or any other address that you choose. Postal votes can be sent overseas, but you must consider whether there will be enough time to receive and return your ballot paper by election day. If you are considering having your vote sent abroad you may also wish to consider voting by proxy.
When will I receive my postal vote?
Postal votes are usually sent out two weeks before election day. When you have received it, follow the instructions and make sure it arrives before the poll closes, usually 10pm on election day. If it arrives later than this your vote will not be counted.
When you vote:
- complete your ballot paper in secret, on your own
- don't let anyone else vote for you
- don't let anyone else see your vote
- don't give the ballot paper to anyone else
- put the ballot paper in the envelope and seal it up yourself
- complete and sign the postal voting statement
- put the postal voting statement and the envelope containing your ballot paper into the larger envelope and seal it
How to return your vote
Take it to the post box yourself, if you can. If you can't do that, give it to somebody you know and trust to post it for you. Do not hand it to a candidate or party worker unless there is no other practical way. Don't leave it where someone else can pick it up. You can take it to your local council office.
Voting by proxy is an easy way of voting if you are unable to get to the polling station. 'By proxy' means that you can appoint someone that you trust to vote on your behalf.
- you are unable to go to the polling station for one particular election, for example if you are away on holiday
- you have a physical condition that means you cannot go to the polling station on election day
- your employment means that you are unable to go to the polling station on election day
- you are attending an educational course on election day and unable to get to the polling station
- you are a British Citizen living overseas
- you are a crown servant or a member of Her Majesty's Armed Services
With the exception of being registered blind, you may have to get someone to support your application to confirm that your reason for applying to vote by proxy is valid.
Who can vote on my behalf?
Anyone can be your proxy as long as they are eligible to vote in the election and are registered to vote themselves. You cannot be a proxy for more than two people at any one election, unless you are a close relative.
If you find out after the deadline to apply for a proxy vote that you cannot go to the polling station in person, then you may be able to apply for an emergency proxy. Each application will need to be supported by a relevant person.
You can apply for an emergency proxy vote up to 5pm on polling day.