You might find it difficult to get to your polling station to vote, so voting by post or proxy (via someone else) can be a helpful alternative to get your vote across.
Voting by post is where you receive your ballot paper direct to an address of your choosing before the date of poll and usually after the deadline to become a candidate has passed so that ballot papers can be produced and posted out. You can contact the electoral registration office to find out when your postal ballot papers will be issued ahead of any elections.
In order to have a postal vote, you must already be registered to vote and can choose to vote by post for:
- a specific election
- a defined period (e.g if going on holiday and an election is uncertain)
- or permanently
A postal vote application form is available from Electoral Services by calling 01536 46 40 12/14 or by downloading an application form.
You must return your postal vote application form no later than 5pm, 11 working days before a poll for it to be considered.
Voting by proxy means appointing someone that you trust to vote on your behalf in the polling station assigned to you.
Anyone who is registered to vote can apply for a proxy vote.
To appoint a proxy, they must be willing to vote on your behalf, 18 or over and they are (or will be) eligible and registered to vote for that election or referendum.
A proxy may not vote at the same election for more than two people unless they are a close relative (husband, wife, parent, grandparent, brother, sister or grandchild) of the people they are voting for.
Your proxy does not necessarily have to sign the form.
As long as you have consulted them and confirmed that they can and will be your proxy, only you need to sign the proxy application form.
When applying for a proxy vote you must provide a reason. You can apply for a proxy vote if:
- unable to go to the polling station, for example if you are away on holiday
- you have a physical condition that means you cannot go to the polling station on election day
- your employment means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day
- your attendance on an educational course means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day
- you are a British citizen living overseas
- you are a crown servant or a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces
If you apply to vote by proxy and your application is accepted, the person you want to vote on your behalf (your proxy) will receive a 'proxy paper' and they can then decide if they wish to apply for a postal vote on your behalf or vote in your allocated polling station on your behalf.
The ‘proxy paper’ is for information only and does not need to be retained.
Before any election/referendum they will also receive a proxy poll card notifying them of the current method they will be using to vote on your behalf.
You must return your proxy vote application form no later than 5pm, 6 working days before a poll for it to be considered.
If you require a proxy vote for one election only (for example if you will be away on the date of the election) please visit www.yourvotematters.co.uk and choose the "particular election or referendum only" application form or contact Electoral Services on 01536 46 40 14 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that for those that require a permanent or long term proxy vote for reasons of disability, education, employment, living overseas, working away as a Crown servant or for the British Council or in the Armed Forces there are strict requirements.
Please visit www.yourvotematters.co.uk and choose the proxy application form which applies to your particular circumstance, eg "Employment", "Disabilities", "Overseas" etc. or contact Electoral Services on 01536 46 40 14 or by email at email@example.com.
Please ensure that you have completed the date of birth field, signed and dated the form and (where applicable) had it attested before it is submitted to Electoral Services.