Postal and proxy voting
You may apply for a postal vote at any time. It can be for a particular election, for a specific period of time or indefinitely, and is linked to your current registration address. Consequently, if you move house and still require a postal vote, you will need to 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. Check the relevant dates on this year's Elections page.
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.
Although postal votes can now be sent abroad it is not advisable as it can take too long to reach its destination and be completed and returned by election day.
If you are likely to be away when postal votes are sent out a proxy vote would be more suitable.
As required by law, all postal vote applicants must supply their signature and date of birth in specific boxes on the application form.
These forms are now scanned and securely stored electronically so that when ballot papers are returned at election time the signatures and dates of birth supplied on the accompanying postal vote statement can be checked against those already held on the application. This is to help eliminate postal vote fraud.
If you would like a postal vote application form please contact our Electoral Services team. They will provide a personalised form which is also barcoded to assist processing when returned.
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.
All proxy vote applicants must supply their signature and date of birth in specific boxes on the application form.