Apply to vote by post on GOV.UK

If you are registered to vote, you can apply to vote by post. You don’t need to have a special reason and you can apply to have a postal vote for a single election or for a period of up to three years.

If you choose to vote by post, your ballot papers will be posted directly to your home address approximately two weeks before the election. It’s possible to have your ballot papers sent to an address other than your home address, for example if you’re working or studying out of the area, but you need to provide the reason for this.

If you want to have your postal vote sent overseas, please consider the reliability of international postal services before applying.

When you apply to vote by post, you’ll be asked to provide your personal details, including your national insurance number, which are used to complete an identity check. You’ll also be asked for a sample signature. If you apply online, please check the instructions carefully to make sure that you provide a clear signature, because when you sign your completed postal ballot papers, these signatures will be compared as a security check.

If you’re unable to provide a consistent signature on your application, you can apply for a waiver. If approved, this means that you won’t have to sign when completing your postal vote.

The deadline for applying for a postal vote is 5pm on the eleventh working day before the election. You don’t need to wait for the election to apply; it is best to apply as soon as possible to make sure that you receive your postal vote in good time.

You can either:

If you apply to vote by post then you won’t be able to vote in person at the polling station.

Once you receive your postal vote

When you receive your postal voting pack, it will contain the following:

  • Postal voting statement
  • Ballot paper(s)
  • Envelope marked ‘A’
  • Return envelope marked ‘B’
  • Instruction sheet

You should complete your postal vote yourself and in secret. You should not allow anyone else to interfere with your postal vote.

Step 1: Complete the postal voting statement making sure that you provide your date of birth (not today’s date) and sign in the box. This will be checked against the information that you provided in your application.

Step 2: Follow the instructions on the top of the ballot paper to mark your vote. If there is more than one election on the same day, you will have more than one ballot paper and they will be different colours.

Step 3: Place your completed ballot paper(s) into the envelope marked ‘A’ and then seal it.

Step 4: Place the completed postal voting statement and the sealed envelope marked ‘A’ into the return envelope ‘B’ and return it to us as quickly as possible.

We must receive your completed postal vote by 10pm on election day for it to be counted.

Returning your postal vote by hand

If it is too late to return your postal vote by post, you can hand your completed pack in at a polling station in your electoral area or to the reception staff at the Civic Offices during normal opening hours. The staff will give you a postal vote return form to fill in. By law you need to complete this form if you return your postal vote by hand.

Your postal vote will be rejected if:

  • You put your postal vote into the Civic Offices post box
  • You return your postal vote to a polling station or the Civic Offices without completing a postal vote return form

If you return your postal vote by hand, you must complete a return form. By law, your postal vote must be rejected if the return form is not completed.