If you cannot or do not wish to go to your polling station on election day, you can apply for a postal vote or, in certain cases, a proxy vote.

Important: To vote by post or by proxy, you need to be registered to vote. If you have not yet registered please visit our Registering to Vote page.

Postal Voting

You can apply for a postal vote for a particular election, for a specified period, or for an indefinite period. Everyone who applies must use a separate form.

To apply to vote by post go to Link - http://www.gov.uk/apply-postal-vote

Proxy Voting

Voting by proxy means that someone else will go to your polling station to cast your vote for you. Not everyone can have a proxy vote. You must have a particular reason for wanting one and it is likely that your application will have to be supported (signed) by someone else to say that your reason is a valid one.

You can have a proxy vote:


  • if you have a long term illness or you are disabled and cannot get to your polling station. In this circumstance, you must get a registered medical practitioner, a registered nurse or a Christian Science Practitioner to sign your form. If you are registered blind or receive a mobility allowance, you do not need to have your application signed.
  • if you will be away from home because of your (or your spouse's) work. Your employer (or, if you are self-employed, someone who knows you who is not related to you) must sign your form.
  • if you will be away from home because you are a student or you are on an educational course, your application must be supported by someone at the educational institution concerned.

Particular Election (One-off application)

  • For any reason to include those given above you do not need anyone to sign your form, but the application will only cover elections on one date. You may need to apply for future occasions.

You can apply to vote by proxy here Link - http://www.gov.uk/apply-proxy-vote

Emergency Proxy Voting

Current electors can apply for an emergency proxy vote if, after the normal proxy vote deadline, they find they cannot attend the polling station to vote. There are two criteria:

  • Urgent business reasons e.g. the elector is called away on business on the day of poll; or
  • Urgent medical reasons e.g. the elector is in hospital
  • the photo ID you were planning on using to vote has been lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed
  • you've not yet received a new or replacement photo ID you've ordered

The application must be attested by the elector's employer or by a medical professional as appropriate. Completed forms must returned before 17:00 on the day of poll. If approved, the proxy must vote at the elector's polling station.

Emergency proxies can be found via the proxy link above.

Postal Vote Signature Refresh

If you request to vote by post, you will be required to provide a signature and date of birth when you first apply.

When you are sent your postal vote for an election you are again required to provide your signature and date of birth on the postal voting statement. These 'personal identifiers' are checked electronically against those you provided on your original postal vote application form, to ensure that they match. This is to prevent someone else from using your vote. If they do not match, your vote cannot be counted. Your personal identifiers are always kept separate from your ballot paper, so no one knows how you have voted.

An important part of these security measures is providing a fresh specimen signature every five years, because your signature and circumstances might change over that time.

If you have a disability that means you either cannot provide a signature or sign in a consistent and distinctive way, please indicate this on the form and make sure the name and address of your helper is provided.

If you no longer want to vote by post, you must respond by ticking the relevant box on the form and return it to us as soon as possible in order to avoid any unnecessary reminders.

If you do not return the signature refresh form by the deadline, your existing postal vote facility will be cancelled and you will have to vote in person or make a new application.

This postal vote signature refresh exercise is normally undertaken every January.

Further Information

For further information, please contact Election Services:

Contact: The Democratic Services team

Last updated on 15/03/2024