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How to register and vote at elections

How you can vote

Vote in person at the polling station

From 4 May 2023 voters will need to show photo ID to vote at the polling station.

If you are registered to vote, a poll card will be sent to you around 6 weeks before an election. Your poll card tells you where your polling station will be. You do not need your poll card to vote although it will help the staff at the polling station if you bring it with you. You must bring your photo ID with you to vote at the polling station. 

If you would like to find out where your polling station is in the run up to an election, please contact the Electoral Services team on 0300 456 0112 or elections@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window).

Visit the Electoral Commission for more information about how to vote in person (opens new window).

Ask someone to vote by proxy on your behalf

From 4 May 2023 your proxy will need to show their own photo ID to vote on your behalf at the polling station.

If you are registered to vote and cannot make it to the polling station on polling day, you can nominate someone to vote on your behalf. See more information about proxy voting on Electoral Commission - voting by proxy (opens new window).

You can return your completed proxy vote application to us via email voting@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window) or via post at the address below. 

Deadlines apply during an election timetable. Keep an eye on our Upcoming referendums, Wiltshire Council by-elections and town and parish by-elections page to see if you are affected.

Vote by post

To vote by post you must complete a postal vote application form. The form must be signed in pen as we require a physical signature not a digital signature. If you cannot print the form email  voting@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window) with your full name and address to request a hard copy to be sent to you in the post.

You can return your completed postal vote application to us at voting@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window) by post at the address below.

If you wish to cancel your postal vote please email voting@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window) with your full name and address or contact the Electoral Services team using the contact details at the end of this page.

Deadlines apply during an election cycle. Keep an eye on our Upcoming referendums, Wiltshire Council by-elections and town and parish by-elections page to see if you are affected.

Registering to vote

You can register to vote if

You can register to vote if you are:

  • 16 years old or over (you can only vote once you are 18)
  • a citizen of Britain, Irish Republic, the Commonwealth or a European member state
  • living at an address in Wiltshire

Special arrangements for registering to vote

Information on how to vote if you are in any of the following circumstances:

More details about registering to vote can be found on Electoral commission: voter (opens new window).

Register to vote (opens new window)

After you've applied

We will confirm that your electoral registration has been successful by email or by post. If we need further information to complete your application or we cannot verify your application because you have not provided your national insurance number or birth date we will contact you to request this information.

To verify your identity, you may be asked to provide evidence such as a passport, driving licence or utility bill. This is known as documentary evidence.

Electoral Registration deadlines

Rolling registration means that you can register to vote at any time of the year.

If you wish to register to vote for an election in your area you can register up to 12 working days before polling day to be included on the register.

Outside of elections the electoral register is published on the first working day of the month.

When your details will appear on the electoral register
Applications received on or beforePublication Date
Wednesday 22 November 2023 Friday 1 December 2023 
Monday 11 December 2023 Tuesday 2 January 2024 
Wednesday 10 January 2024Thursday 1 February 2024 
Thursday 8 February 2024 Friday 1 March 2024 
Monday 11 March 2024 Tuesday 2 April 2024
Tuesday 9 April 2024Wednesday 1 May 2024 
Friday 10 May 2024Monday 3 June 2024
Friday 7 June 2024Monday 1 July 2024 
Wednesday 10 July 2024Thursday 1 August 2024
Friday 9 August 2024Monday 2 September 2024
Thursday 21 November 2024Friday 29 November 2024

The Electoral Register and the Open Register 

There are 2 kinds of electoral register. 

The Electoral Register

The Electoral Register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote and it is only used for voting.

It may be also used for limited purposes that are specified in law which as the prevention and detection of crime, calling people for jury service and checking credit applications. It is a criminal offence for anyone to supply or use the electoral register for anything else. 

The Open Register

The Open Register lists the names and addresses of the electors on the open register only. The open register is an extract of the electoral register but it is not used for elections. The open register can be purchased by any person, company or organisation. For example it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details.

Your name and addresses will be included on the open register unless you opt out. You check if you are on the open register or ask to be removed at any time by contacting us by post or openregister@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window). Please provide your full name and address and state that you wish to be removed from the open register.

If you wish to purchase a copy of the open register, email registerrequests@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window) and include the electoral area you would like to purchase for a quote. The cost of purchasing the open register is set down in law.

Public Inspection of the Electoral Register

Anyone is able to go and view the paper copy of the current electoral register and it's subsequent updates. Registers are available for inspection under supervision at our three main Council offices: 

  • County Hall, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN
  • Bourne Hill, Salisbury, SP1 3UZ
  • Monkton Mark, Chippenham, SN15 1ER

Voter photo ID

From 4 May 2023 voters will need to show photo ID to vote at the polling station.

This will apply to: Local elections, Police and Crime Commissioner elections, UK Parliamentary by-elections and Recall petitions. 
From October 2023 it will also apply to UK General elections.

Acceptable forms of ID

You may already have an accepted form of photo ID such as a passport or a driving licence. These do not need to be in date but the photo must still be a good likeness of you.

A list of the accepted forms of photo ID can be found on the Electoral Commission (opens new window) website.

If you do not have ID

If you do not already have an accepted form of photo ID you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (VAC).

You can apply online https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate (opens new window) or download the application form (opens new window) and post it to us using the contact details at the end of this page

If you would like us to post you an application call us on 0300 456 0112.

My photo ID doesn't look like me anymore

If your photo ID no longer looks like you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate (opens new window).

I vote by post

If you have a postal vote in place you do not need Voter ID.

I vote by proxy

If your proxy votes on your behalf at the polling station they will be asked to show their photo ID. Your proxy will not be asked to show any ID in your name.

Postal voting

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 (opens new window) 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.

Apply online

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). 

GOV.UK: apply to vote by post (opens new window)

Paper form

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 (opens new window). 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 voting@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window) 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 voting@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window).

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 voting@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window). 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.

Proxy voting

Voting by proxy means you can ask someone else to go to the polling station and cast your vote on your behalf. This is also known as absent voting.  

Deadlines apply during an election. Keep an eye on our upcoming elections and referendums (opens new window) page for elections in Wiltshire.

Your proxy

The person you appoint as your proxy should be someone you trust to vote on your behalf.

Your proxy must:

  • be registered to vote
  • be allowed to vote in the type of election taking place
  • be able to vote at the polling station where you usually cast your vote

Your proxy must cast your vote at your usual polling station. If your proxy lives a long way from your polling station then once your proxy application has been completed, they can ask for your ballot papers to be sent to them in the post. This is known as voting by postal proxy.

Apply to vote by proxy

To apply for a proxy vote, you need to complete a form and give a reason you can't get to your polling station in person. It may be because you are on holiday, can't get to the polling station or are away for education or for work.

You should ask the person you wish to appoint as your proxy if they are happy to vote on your behalf before applying.

You will need to complete a new proxy application if you have moved house.

Before starting your application online you will need:

  • to be registered to vote
  • your national insurance number
  • the name, address and contact details of the person you would like to appoint as your proxy

Proxy vote for a specific election only 

There are 2 ways to apply for a proxy vote for a single election:

If you are unable to print an application form contact Electoral Services to request a hard copy to the sent in the post. Email elections@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window) with your full name and address to request a hard copy to be sent to you in the post.

Proxy vote long-term or permanent

The form you must complete for a long-term proxy depends on the reason you wish to vote by proxy. You must complete the form relevant to your situation.

You can complete a proxy application form online if: 

  • you are a registered overseas voter
  • you work overseas for the British Council or as a Crown servant
  • you are serving overseas in the Armed Forces

GOV.UK: Apply to vote by proxy (opens new window)

Visit Electoral Commission - voting by proxy (opens new window) to download a form if you won't be able to go to the polling station for the foreseeable future due to:

  • you have a disability
  • you are away on an educational course
  • you are away for work
  • you are a registered overseas voter
  • you work overseas for the British Council or as a Crown servant
  • you are serving overseas in the Armed Forces
  • you are a registered as an anonymous elector

If you need help with your application contact Electoral Services on 0300 456 0112.

After you've applied

We will confirm that your application has been successful. There may not always be time to do this if you have applied on a deadline before an election. 

If we need more information to process your application you will receive an email from us explaining any additional information we require. 

Applying for a postal vote as a proxy 

A postal proxy vote is where someone appointed as a proxy for an elector asks for a postal vote so that the electors ballot paper(s) are sent to an address convenient for the proxy. It is usually used for electors who appoint a proxy outside of Wiltshire or far away from the electors usual polling station. 

You should only apply for a proxy postal vote after your application to vote by proxy has been successful. The form must be completed by the proxy, not by the elector appointing a proxy. 

Application for a proxy to vote by post (OpenDocument text format) [20KB] (opens new window)

If you are unable to print an application form contact Electoral Services to request a hard copy to the sent in the post. Email elections@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window) with your full name and address to request a hard copy to be sent to you in the post.

Cancel your proxy vote

If you want to cancel an existing proxy vote we must receive a request in writing stating:

  • your name
  • your address
  • that you would like to cancel your proxy vote

You can send this by email to elections@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window) ensuring you use 'Proxy cancellation' as the subject heading. Deadlines apply during an election.

How to vote by proxy

At the time of an election both you and the person you have nominated as your proxy will receive a poll card. The poll card will inform your proxy where they need to go to cast your vote. Let your proxy know who you would like to vote for.

When your proxy goes to the polling station to cast your vote they will be asked to show an accepted form of photo ID.

If your proxy does not receive a poll card at the time of an election, please ask them to contact us immediately.

You can still vote in person at your polling station if you have a proxy vote, but only if your proxy has not already voted for you.

Contact Electoral Services

Postal address

Electoral Services
Wiltshire Council
County Hall
Bythesea Road
Trowbridge
BA14 8JN

Email

elections@wiltshire.gov.uk (opens new window)

Telephone

0300 456 0112

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