How to Vote

Ways to vote

Voting in person

You can vote in person at a polling station on the day of the election. You'll be sent a polling card before the day of the election, which will tell you the location and opening times of your polling station.


Voting by post

If you want to vote by post, you can download and return the postal vote application form, or contact Electoral Services and we'll send you a form.

You can arrange a postal vote for:

  • A single election - for example if you'll be on holiday on the day of the election
  • A set period - for example if you're a student or regularly work away from home
  • Permanently - a ballot paper will automatically be sent to you by post whenever there's an election until you tell us otherwise. You'll be asked to refresh your signature every 5 years to remain a permanent postal voter.

Once your completed application has been processed, you'll receive confirmation of your voting arrangements. If you don't receive written confirmation within 4 weeks of sending your application, you should contact us to check we received your application.

There are some important things to remember about postal voting:

  • Once a postal vote has been issued you can't choose to vote in person at a polling station
  • Postal votes can be sent to any chosen address, even abroad, but it may take some time for the ballot paper to reach you and for you to send it back. If your completed ballot paper isn't received by election day, your vote won't be counted.
  • You're responsible for paying return postage if you have your postal vote sent abroad.
  • Postal votes are sent out about a week before election day. Please ensure that at this time you'll be at the address where you've requested your postal vote to be sent.
  • If you have a long term postal vote don't forget to let us know if you move house, or your postal vote will be sent to your old address and you'll miss out.

Read the postal voting FAQs.


Voting by proxy

A proxy voting arrangement is when you appoint another person to vote on your behalf, either at your allotted polling station or by post (postal proxy).

If you can't get to your polling station to vote in person and you don't want to receive your voting papers by post, you can appoint a person to vote on your behalf. It can be anyone, as long as they are eligible to vote in the election and willing to vote on your behalf. This person can be a family member, friend, neighbour or someone else whom you trust to cast your vote correctly.

You cannot be a proxy for more than two people at any one election, unless they are a close relative.

If you do want to vote by proxy, you can download and return a proxy voting application form, or contact Electoral Services and we will send you a form.

If you want to vote by proxy only for a particular election, you can download and return a proxy voting for a particular election application form, or contact Electoral Services and we will send you a form.


You can arrange a proxy vote if, for example:

  • You're blind
  • You have a physical condition which means you can't get to the polling station
  • Your employment means you can't get to the polling station
  • Your attendance on an educational course means you can't get to the polling station

You can arrange a proxy vote for:

  • A single election - for example if you'll be on holiday on the day of the election
  • A set period - for example for a year, if you're a student or regularly work away from home
  • Permanently - for an indefinite period until you tell us otherwise

The deadline for applying to vote by proxy is normally 6 working days before an election. However, if you have a medical emergency after that deadline, you can apply to vote by emergency proxy, if the emergency means you can't go to the polling station in person.

The application form will ask you to give a reason for wanting to vote by proxy, and may also ask for a qualified person to support confirm that your your reason for applying to vote is valid. Please read the notes that accompany the application form to find out if you need to get someone to support your application and who can do it.

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