How to register and vote at elections
Voting by post means that we will send your ballot papers out to your home or an away address if you will not be home at the time of an election or referendum. This is also known as absent voting.
Ballot papers are usually posted out around 2-3 weeks before any election. You can check your poll card for information relating to a particular election.
Deadlines apply during an election. Keep an eye on our upcoming elections and referendums page to see if you are affected.
Apply to vote by post
You can apply for a postal vote online at gov.uk or complete a paper form. It is useful if you provide contact information on your application so that we can contact you quickly during an election if there is an issue with your application.
Before starting your application online you will need:
- your national insurance number
- a photo of your wet ink (not digital) signature
You require a signature because when we send your ballot paper(s) at the time of an election, your signature and date of birth are used to verify your identity and ensure that no one else can use your ballot paper(s).
Your national insurance number is used to verify your identity when you apply to vote by post. If there is an issue with your national insurance number we may write to you and ask you to provide documentary evidence or an attestation. (An attestation is when someone else of good standing confirms your identity).
If you are unable to apply online to vote by post, you must complete a postal vote application form which can be found on The Electoral Commission: Apply to vote by post. The form must be signed in pen as we require a physical signature. Digital signatures cannot be accepted. If you cannot print the form, email email@example.com with your full name and address to request a hard copy to be sent to you in the post.
You can return your paper form to us by scanning it or taking a good quality photo and emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
After you've applied
We will confirm that your postal vote application has been successful. There may not always be time to do this if you applied on a deadline before an election.
If we need more information to process your application you will receive an email from us requesting what we need to complete your application.
Changing your name
If you change your name you will need to send us a new application form to vote by post. This is because you applied for your postal vote in your old name and your signature may change.
Cancel your postal vote
If you want to cancel an existing postal vote we must receive a request in writing stating:
- your name
- your address
- that you would like to cancel your postal vote.
You can send this by email to email@example.com. Deadlines apply during an election.
How to vote by post
Make sure that you have followed the instructions and provided your date of birth and signature. Ensure you have followed the instructions to complete your ballot paper. You can post your ballot paper back to us using the envelope provided or you can hand it in at your polling station.
Your postal vote must reach us by 10pm on polling day.