Voting by proxy

Last Updated: 2 March 2023

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.

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. 

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 

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. 

Application form to vote by proxy at a particular election or referendum

Permanent proxy vote

You can only have a permanent proxy vote if you: 

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. 

Emergency proxy for health reasons

If you have a health-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. 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. 

Disability/health emergency proxy vote application form

Emergency proxy for work reasons

If you can't attend your polling station because you will be away for work reasons you can apply for an emergency proxy. Your application must be signed by someone such as a manager, colleague, customer or client to confirm that you have been called away for work. 

Employment emergency proxy vote application form

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:

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. 

Voter identity 

The law around voting in a polling station has changed. All voters must now provide a photographic ID document to prove their identity. This includes people who are acting as a proxy for another elector.

You only need to show your photo ID. You do not need to bring ID for the person who appointed you to be their proxy. If you don’t have a photo ID document you can apply for a free document called a Voter Authority Certificate.

Photo ID documents that can be accepted and how to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.

Proxy voting by post

If you can't go to their polling station, you can instead cast their vote for them by post. 

The law around postal voting has not changed. You don't need to provide photo ID to apply for a postal (proxy vote) or to complete the ballot papers.

Application for a person nominated to be someone's proxy to vote 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.

Absent vote refresh

If you have a permanent proxy vote, we're required by law to contact you every five years to check if you wish to continue to vote by proxy. We will send an absent vote refresh form that asks for your signature and your date of birth, to check if the information we have about you is correct. 

We usually send the forms around January. If we have sent a form to you, you must complete it if you wish to keep your proxy vote. If we don't hear from you by the date printed on the final reminder form, your proxy vote will be cancelled and you will need to reapply if you wish to vote by in future.