Voting by post

How to apply

Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you are unable to get to the polling station. You can now apply online to vote by post. This section tells you how voting by post works.

You need to provide your national insurance number as part of your application to vote by post for identity verification purposes. If you are not able to provide a national insurance number, or your national insurance number cannot be verified, you will be asked to provide documentary evidence in order to process your postal vote application.

You must provide your signature as part of your application for voting security reasons.

  • The law now allows anyone included in a Register of Electors to apply for a postal vote without the need to give any reason or to have the application form countersigned.
  • If you would prefer to vote by post instead of going to a polling station, you can apply online.
  • Postal votes can be sent anywhere, either inside or outside the United Kingdom (if, for example, you are going on holiday). Remember, though, that if the address is outside the UK it will take time to reach you and for you to return it in order for your vote to be counted.
  • If you move house you must tell the Electoral Registration Officer immediately, or you may lose your postal vote.
  • Please remember that there is always a last day to receive postal vote applications in time for a particular election.
  • You are strongly advised to complete and send in your application early.
  • You can apply for a postal vote for a specific time period or for a maximum of three years.

Who can apply for a postal vote?

Anyone aged 18 or over who is on the electoral register can apply for a postal vote. You do not need a reason to vote by post.

Where can I get my postal vote sent?

A postal vote can be sent to your home address or any other address that you give. Postal votes can be sent overseas. You need to consider whether there will be enough time to receive and return your ballot paper by election day.

When will I receive my ballot papers?

Postal votes are usually sent out about a week before election day. Once you’ve got it, mark your vote on the ballot paper and make sure you send it back so that it arrives by close of poll (which is 10pm on election day). If it arrives later than this your vote won’t be counted.

When you get your postal voting papers

  • Put them somewhere safe
  • Don't let anyone else handle them
  • Make sure they are not left where someone else can pick them up

When you want to vote

  • Complete your ballot paper in secret, on your own
  • Don't let anyone else vote for you
  • Don't let anyone else see your vote
  • Don't give the ballot paper to anyone else
  • Put the ballot paper in the envelope and seal it up yourself
  • Complete and sign the postal voting statement
  • Put the postal voting statement and the envelope containing your ballot paper into the larger envelope and seal it.

When you return your postal vote

  • Take it to the post box yourself, or hand it in at Electoral Services Office, City Hall, or your local polling station on Election Day, if you can. You will be required to complete a form should you wish to return your pack in person.
  • If you can't do that, give it to somebody you know personally and trust to post it for you.
  • Don't hand it over to anyone - protect your vote.
  • Don't leave it where someone else can pick it up.

Please note:

  • From the 1 December 2023, it will be a criminal offence for political parties and campaigners to handle completed postal votes and postal vote envelopes unless the person is the spouse, civil partner, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child or grandchild of the campaigner, or the person receives regular care from the campaigner. Please see Election Commission code of conduct for Campaigners for further information.
  • In addition, voters will not be allowed to hand more than 5 postal voting ballot packs (in addition to their own) at any polling station.

All postal voting ballot packs must reach us by 10pm on polling day.

Remember that this is your vote - so keep it to yourself

If anyone tries to help you against your will or force you to give them your postal vote, you should contact the police.

Further information on absent voting

For further information on absent voting, please visit the Electoral Commission website here:

Postal Voting:
Proxy Voting:

If you have any other queries please contact us.

For more information about voting by post see the Electoral Commission website.

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