Voting by proxy
If you're unable to vote in person at the polling station, you can apply for a proxy vote or apply for a postal vote.
This page describes how proxy voting works and has links to download the application forms.
Who can apply for a proxy vote
Temporary proxy vote
Anyone can have a temporary proxy vote for a single election. You need to provide a reason, but you don't need anyone else to support or sign your application.
The deadline to apply for a temporary proxy vote is usually 5pm on the sixth day before the poll.
Emergency proxy vote
Emergency proxy vote for COVID-19 reasons
If you can't visit your polling station because you have COVID and are following government guidance in relation to COVID (eg you have to self-isolate), you have until 5pm on the day of the poll to apply for an emergency proxy. If you already have a proxy in place but they have become ill or are isolating because of COVID, you also have until 5pm on the day of the poll to appoint someone else.
The COVID emergency proxy application form will be published by the Electoral Commission soon and added to this page.
Emergency proxy for other health or employment reasons
If you have a health or work-related emergency that will prevent you from visiting your polling station, you have until 5pm on the day of the poll to apply for an emergency proxy.
If you apply for an emergency proxy for health reasons, your application must be signed by a health or social care professional to confirm why you need the emergency proxy. It must be your emergency, unfortunately we can't arrange a emergency proxy if you're called away suddenly for another person's illness.
If you apply for an emergency proxy for work reasons, your application must be signed by someone such as a manager, colleague or customer to confirm that you have been called away for work.
Your emergency must have occurred after the deadline to apply for an ordinary temporary or permanent proxy, which is 5pm on the sixth working day before the poll. If it occurred before the deadline for an ordinary proxy vote you are not entitled to an emergency proxy.
Permanent proxy vote
You can only have a permanent proxy vote if you:
- have a disability and can't attend a polling station to cast your vote in person on polling day
- are away from home for educational reasons
- are away from home for employment reasons
- live abroad and are registered as an overseas elector
- are registered as as service voter because you are a Crown Servant or British Council employee living abroad
- are registered as a service voter because you are a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces
Proxy applications on the grounds of disability, education or employment must be supported and signed by someone (for example, a doctor, tutor or employer). This isn't necessary for overseas and service electors, because they have to provide additional information when they register to vote.
The deadline to apply for a permanent proxy is 5pm on the sixth working day before the poll.
How to apply for a proxy vote
There are several versions of the application form, depending on why you wish to vote by proxy. Please contact us if you're unsure which form to use.
The application form for a COVID-19 emergency proxy will be added to this page once it has been finalised by the Electoral Commission.
Please print your form, sign it and send it to use as a scanned image by email or send it to us by post to the below address. We can't accept forms with digital signatures.
If you don't have access to a printer you can request an application form over the telephone or, if our offices are open to the public, request a form in person at South Lakeland House.
Temporary proxy vote application for a single election
Permanent proxy vote applications
Emergency proxy vote forms
Who can be a proxy
If someone has appointed you to be their proxy, this means you can cast their vote on their behalf.
You can't be a proxy for more than two people at any one election or referendum, unless they are a close relative. Close relatives are defined as your spouse, civil partner, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child or grandchild.
You must be:
- aged over eighteen
- registered to vote, if you are not registered in the South Lakeland area we will contact your local electoral services department to check you're registered
- eligible to vote in the election in question. Find out which elections you can vote (and be someone's proxy) in
Being someone's proxy
You must go to the polling station of the person who appointed you to be their proxy. We will send you a proxy poll card by post, which will tell you where and when to cast their vote for them.
Proxy voting by post
If you can't go to their polling station, you can instead cast their vote for them by post.
The deadline to apply for a postal vote is earlier than the deadline to apply to vote by proxy. The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on the eleventh working day before the poll and the deadline to apply for a proxy vote is 5pm on the sixth working day before the poll. If you haven't arranged a postal vote before the deadline, the only way to cast their vote is by going to their polling station in person.
If the person who appointed you as their proxy changes their mind or finds that they can go to the polling station after all, they can still go and vote at their polling station on polling day, provided you haven't already gone to the station to cast their vote or applied for a postal vote.
How to change or cancel your proxy vote
This depends on what type of proxy vote you have and how you want to change it. Please contact us if you need to change or cancel your proxy vote. If your proxy cannot vote because they have COVID-19 or are following government guidance and are self-isolating, you may be able to replace them with an emergency proxy.