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Voting by post

Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you are unable to get to the polling station. This page tells you how voting by post works.

Applying to vote by post 

In England, Scotland and Wales, only electors who are (or will be) registered individually are entitled to apply to vote by post. 
For further information, you should contact your local electoral registration office. You can find the contact details in the ‘Your local area' panel – just enter your postcode for the correct office.
Once you are registered individually you need to fill in a postal vote application form.
After completing the form, you’ll need to print it, sign it, and send it back to your local electoral registration office.
Why do I need to sign my form?

You need to sign your application form personally because the electoral registration office needs a copy of your signature for voting security reasons. We know it’s slightly less convenient than submitting it online, but it helps to ensure the security of your vote and is used to tackle electoral fraud.

Who can apply for a postal vote?

Anyone who is individually registered can apply for a postal vote. You do not need a reason to vote by post. 

This does not apply in Northern Ireland – find out more on the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website.

Where can I get my postal vote sent?

A postal vote can be set to your home address or any other address that you give. 

Postal votes can be sent overseas, but you need to consider whether there will be enough time to receive and return your ballot paper by election day.

When will I receive my ballot papers?

Postal ballots can only be sent out once the deadline to become a candidate has passed and the ballot papers have subsequently been produced and printed. Contact your local electoral registration office for further information on when your postal ballot papers will be issued.

Once you’ve got it, mark your vote on the ballot paper and make sure you send it back so that it arrives by 10pm on the day of the election or referendum). If it arrives later than this, your vote won’t be counted.

When you get your postal voting papers

  • Put them somewhere safe
  • Don't let anyone else handle them
  • Make sure they are not left where someone else can pick them up
When you want to vote
  • Complete your ballot paper in secret, on your own
  • Don't let anyone else vote for you
  • Don't let anyone else see your vote
  • Don't give the ballot paper to anyone else
  • Put the ballot paper in the envelope and seal it up yourself
  • Complete and sign the postal voting statement
  • Put the postal voting statement and the envelope containing your ballot paper into the larger envelope and seal it.
When you return your postal vote
  • Take it to the post box yourself, if you can
  • If you can't do that, either give it to somebody you know and trust to post it for you, or ring your local electoral registration office, to ask if they can collect it from you
  • Don't hand it to a candidate or party worker unless no other way is practical
  • Don't leave it where someone else can pick it up
Remember that this is your vote – so keep it to yourself!

If anyone tries to help you against your will, or force you to give them your postal vote, you should contact the police. 

If you have any other queries, ring your local electoral registration office – you can get their contact details on this site by entering your postcode.