Postal and proxy voting
If you are unable to go to your polling station to vote on polling day, you can apply for a postal or proxy vote.
You can have a postal vote for a particular election, for a specific period of time or indefinitely.
Your postal vote is linked to your registration address, so if you move house and still wish to vote by post, you must re-apply.
Postal votes are usually issued about ten days before an election and completed ballot papers must be returned by 10pm on election day. Therefore, if you have a permanent postal vote, and will be going away on holiday around the time the postal votes will be issued, you may not receive your postal vote pack before you leave.
You also need to check when postal votes are scheduled to be posted if you apply for a postal vote just for a particular election. If you are going on holiday you may leave home before your postal vote arrives.
Please contact the Electoral Services team if you would like your postal vote sent to a different address. Although postal votes can be sent abroad, we advise against this, as it can take too long for them to reach you and be returned in time for election day.
You may wish to apply for a proxy vote if you are likely to be away when postal votes are sent out.
A proxy vote is where you appoint someone, a friend or member of your family perhaps, to go to your polling station and vote on your behalf.
You can choose to have a proxy vote for a particular election, for a specific period of time or permanently.
If you apply for a particular election, you need to give a reason (e.g. employment, holiday or illness), but you do not need anyone to sign your application to support it.
If you wish to have a proxy vote for a specific period of time or indefinitely, you need to give the reason and ask someone (e.g. your doctor, nurse or employer) to sign your application.
If you are unsure which form you should use, please contact Electoral Services.
If you have had a postal vote for over 5 years
You will receive a letter early in the year asking you to complete a form to provide your up to date signature so that our records are correct.
The signature you provide on your postal vote statement, which accompanies your postal ballot paper, is checked against the signature you gave us on your original application form.
A fresh signature will help to avoid your postal vote being rejected if your signature has changed over the last few years.
When we ask for an up to date signature, we also ask for your date of birth again just to be sure that the date you originally provided was correct.
This 'postal vote refresh' helps to avoid any problems when you cast your vote by post. You may not be able to vote by post if you do not reply to the letter.