If you know that you will not be able to get to the polling station on polling day, you can vote by post.
You can apply for postal vote because you are away on holiday or because your work schedule means you cannot get to polling station. You can also choose to vote by post simply because it would be more convenient for you.
Anyone aged 18 or over can apply for a postal vote. You can apply at any time, but when there is an election, we must receive the completed application at least 11 working days before that election in order for it to be effective.
A postal vote can be sent to your home address or any other address you give. Postal votes can be sent overseas, but you need to consider whether there is time to receive and return your ballot paper by polling day.
You can apply for a postal vote on the government website.
How to cast your vote
Your ballot paper will be sent to you between seven and eight working days before the election.
Once you have decided who you want to vote for:
- complete the ballot paper on your own
- do not let anyone else vote for you
- do not let anyone else see your vote
- do not give the ballot paper to anyone else
- put the ballot paper in the smaller envelope and seal it up yourself
- complete and sign the postal voting statement
- put the postal voting statement and the smaller envelope containing your ballot paper into the larger envelope and seal it
Postal votes should be returned by close of poll on election day by 10pm.
If you do not receive your postal vote by election day, contact our electoral team for a replacement. You must do this before 5pm. You will not be issued a new ballot paper at a polling station. The first day to issue replacement postal ballot packs for lost or spoilt postal packs is five working days before the election day.
Returning your postal vote
If you can, post it yourself. If you cannot do that, give it to somebody you know and trust to post it for you.
- hand it to a candidate or party worker
- leave it where someone else can pick it up
If anyone tries to help you against your will, or forces you to give them your postal vote, you should contact the police.
If your postal vote arrives after voting closes, it will not be counted.
How your vote is counted
The signature and date of birth on your postal vote statement will be checked against those details you originally provided. Your vote will not be counted if any statements are found without a date of birth/signature or with a differing date of birth/signature. Your postal ballot paper will then be mixed with all the others before counting begins. Your vote will be kept secret.
If you can no longer make a signature
If you are unable to make a signature due to ill health or disability you can still vote by post. You need to apply on a special application form called a postal vote waiver.
Change of name
If you already have a postal vote but your signature has changed because you have got married, or you have changed your name through deed poll, you will need to complete another postal vote application.
This is so that at an election the signature you supply with your ballot paper will always match the signature provided on your application. If the signatures do not match, your vote will not be counted.