How to vote

Vote by post

Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you’re unable to get to the polling station.

Postal votes are available on demand without having to give reason, unless you are asking for your postal vote to be sent to an address other than the one you’re registered to vote at. We can send your ballot paper to any address in the UK or abroad.

New postal vote applications and requests for changes to existing postal votes must be received no later than 5pm, 11 working days before polling day.

If you choose to vote by post, be aware that your postal vote may not be sent out until very close to the election, particularly if you apply close to the deadline. You must take this into consideration if you are away prior to the date of the election or have asked for the postal vote to be redirected abroad.

Apply for a postal vote

The rules for applying for a postal vote have changed.

When making an application to vote by post, you now need to prove your identity by providing your National Insurance Number, or the reason why you can’t provide one.

If we are not able to verify your identity, we will ask you to provide additional evidence to confirm your identity.

To be entitled to apply for a postal vote, you must be registered to vote or have made a successful application to register to vote.

You can apply for a postal vote for different time periods:

  • a particular election
  • a definite period – this must not exceed 3 years
  • a maximum period of 3 years

Electors applying for the maximum period of 3 years must renew their postal vote by the third 31 January calculated from the date the application was granted.  We will write out to postal voters to let them know when they must reapply.

You can now choose to apply online to vote by post at

Alternatively, we can send you an application form in the post, which you can request by completing the postal and proxy application request form.

How postal voting works

Every time you vote by post, we will send you a postal voting statement along with your ballot paper(s). You need to complete this with your signature and date of birth and return it to us. The signature and date of birth on the statement will be checked against your original application to make sure nobody else can use your vote. It is very important that you are extra careful when completing your postal vote application and make sure you sign the same way each time.

If your signature and/or date of birth do not match, then your postal vote will be rejected and your ballot paper would not be included in the count. If this happens, we will write to you within three months of the election to let you know and you may be asked to provide a new specimen signature.

If you request to have a permanent postal vote, we will write to you every five years to request a fresh specimen signature.

If you can't sign the application form or you are not able to provide a consistent signature, you may be able to apply for a signature waiver. If accepted, you would not need to sign the postal voting statement. For more information, please email

The deadline to apply for, amend or cancel a postal vote is 5pm on the eleventh working day before an election.

If the signature and/or date of birth provided on your postal voting statement do not match

Cancelling or amending your postal vote

If you no longer wish to have a postal vote, you need to let us know in writing, providing your full name, full address and you must sign the letter.

If you wish to amend you postal vote, please complete a new postal vote application form

Voting by post as a proxy

If you have been set-up to vote as a proxy for somebody, you can apply to vote for them by post.

You will need to complete a postal proxy application form. For more information and the application form, go to the proxy voting page.

If you set-up at postal proxy, you and the person you are proxy for are not permitted to vote at a polling station.