Postal and proxy voting
If you think you will be unable to get to the polling station to vote on the day of an election or you would prefer to vote by post anyway, you can apply to vote by post at any time up to 11 working days before polling day.
What is a postal vote?
A postal vote means that the ballot paper (voting paper) is posted to your address on the electoral register between 10 and 6 days before polling day.
You can then mark the ballot paper in the privacy of your home, at a time that suits you, complete an accompanying “Postal Voting Statement” (which requires your date of birth and signature) and return them both.
The ballot paper goes inside the “A”” envelope and is sealed. This sealed “A” envelope, along with the completed statement form go together inside the larger “B” envelope and this is then posted or hand delivered to the elections office or you may hand deliver it to a polling station in your ward or electoral area on polling day.
Whatever means is used to deliver it, it must be received no later than 10pm on polling day.
This service is free and all postage costs are paid for you.
You must be able to sign your name to vote by post. If you can't, you need to request a postal WAIVER application. A Power of Attorney does NOT apply to postal voting.
How do I get a postal vote?
You will need to complete an application form for a postal vote and return it to council’s Election Office before 5pm on the 11th working day before polling day. You must be individually registered in order to be granted a postal vote. Please call or email our office to obtain an application form.
The ballot paper you receive through the post will be exactly the same as the one that you would have been given if you were going to vote in person at a polling station. You will also receive a “Postal Voting Statement” (often attached to the envelope “A” – which should not be detached from it) which must be completed by adding your date of birth and signature.
How long does my application apply for
Your application will apply to all elections you are entitled to vote at and until further notice unless you specify otherwise on the form.
Every 5 years we have to send out a refresh notice if this is not completed your postal vote will be cancelled.
Counting your postal vote
Council is required by law to check that the date of birth and signature you have placed in the “Postal Voting Statement” matches those previously provided by you. If one is missing or not matched, then the postal vote is rejected and not counted.
Important notes for postal votes
Remember to allow 2 clear days before polling day for posting with Royal Mail, (e.g. if polling day is a Thursday, don’t post it any later than the Tuesday) so that they have time to deliver it. Don’t leave posting it until the day before polling day or polling day itself because it won’t reach us in time.
If you have forgotten to post in by Royal Mail in time, then you can always hand deliver it to your polling station before 10pm.
When applying for a postal vote, you can choose where your ballot paper is sent to. Even if you are out of the country it will be sent to you at the address you give on the form. However, you will have a very small window in which to receive, complete and return the completed ballot papers to us.
If you change your mind about your postal voting arrangements you will need to tell us, in writing, at least 11 working days before polling day.
You can ask for your postal vote to be redirected but it must be in writing and received not later than 5pm on the 11 the working day before polling day.
How to complete your postal pack
What is a Proxy Vote?
Proxy voting means that if you aren't able to cast your vote in person, you can have someone you trust cast your vote for you.
Your proxy can either go to your polling station to cast your vote, or can apply to vote for you by post.
Apply for a proxy vote in England
To apply for a proxy vote, you have to complete a form and give a reason why you can't get to your polling station in person.
This may be because you're going to be on holiday, or have a physical condition which means you can't get to your polling station on polling day.
Whether or not your reason is accepted will vary depending on:
- the type of proxy vote you apply for
- when you apply
- where in the UK you're registered to vote
The Electoral Services Office
Ground floor, Council House
Telephone 01922 652502