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Postal and proxy votes

Changes to the absent voting rules

New legislation took effect on 31 October 2023 which changed how you apply to vote by post or appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf. 

For further information or to make an application, visit the government’s new online application service: Apply for a postal vote - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Postal votes

Voting by post

Anyone who is registered to vote can apply to vote by post. You can arrange to have a postal vote for a particular election, for a set period, or for up to three years. If you will be away at the time of an election, a postal vote can be sent to an alternative address.

You don't need to show approved Photo ID if you have a postal vote – your identity will be verified during the application process. You will be asked to provide your date of birth and National Insurance Number as part of the postal vote application.

How the postal vote system works

If you apply to vote by post, you will not be able to vote in person at that election. Instead, you will be sent a postal vote pack shortly before polling day. Please read the instructions in the pack carefully before completing your postal ballot paper.

As part of the process, you will need to complete a postal voting statement which is a security measure. It won't affect your vote or mean it can be identified. Postal votes should be completed and returned as soon as possible, The Returning Officer must receive your vote by 10pm on polling day. If it's received after this time, your vote will not be counted.

If you have applied for a postal vote you will receive a postal poll card in advance to confirm the address to which the postal vote pack will be sent. This will also tell you when to expect your postal vote pack to arrive.

Find out everything you need to know about voting by post on the Electoral Commission website: Apply to vote by post | Electoral Commission

How to complete your postal vote

Proxy votes

Appointing a proxy

Electors who are unable to attend their polling station in person on polling day can appoint a proxy to cast their vote on their behalf. Both the elector and their proxy must be on the electoral register. When going to vote at the polling station, the proxy must show their own approved Photo ID. There are limits on the number of people that a proxy can vote for, so please check with your proxy before you make the application to appoint them.

Find out more about applying to vote by proxy:

How to vote: Voting by proxy - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Your identity will be verified during the application process. You will be asked to provide your date of birth and National Insurance Number as part of the proxy vote application.

The requirements for proxy voting are more stringent for those wishing to appoint a proxy for more than one election, for example, if you are blind, seriously ill, disabled or your work/educational course regularly takes you away from home. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact the Electoral Registration Office on 01277 312708.

The legislation also makes provision for emergency proxy votes to be issued in certain special circumstances. If you think this may apply to you, please contact the Electoral Registration Office on 01277 312708 for further information.