Postal and proxy voting

Absent voting

The Government introduced new legislation on 1 January 2007 to increase the security of absent voting.
There are three types of absent voting arrangements that can be applied for; Postal voting, Proxy voting, and Postal Proxy voting.

Postal voting

Once you are on the current Register of Electors, you can choose to vote by post instead of at your polling station. This is the method of voting where your ballot papers are sent to you, and which can be returned free of charge (in the UK) using any post box.

The new legislation referred to above means that every new Postal Voting application must include the applicant's signature and date of birth to be accepted.

If you would like to apply for a postal vote please contact the Electoral Services helpline on 020 7361 3444, email or alternatively you can download an application form from About My Vote

However, if an elector is unable to sign in a consistent or distinctive way due to disability, they may be granted an exemption from having to do so. Please contact us on 020 7361 3444 or for an exemption form.

Please note that you should not wait for an election to be called before you send us your completed form. Postal and proxy applications should be sent to us immediately.

Postal ballot papers can only be sent out around a week before Election Day. You should ensure that they are sent to an address where you can receive them, and also consider whether this gives you enough time to complete and return them. It may be more practical for you to vote by proxy, which is appointing someone to vote on your behalf.

Once you have a postal vote

If you are registered to vote by post you will not then be able to vote in person at the polling station. Polling station staff will not issue you with a ballot paper under any circumstances.

You can cancel your postal voting arrangement by writing to us at Electoral Services, The Town Hall, Hornton Street, London, W8 7NX.

Proxy voting

If you cannot attend your allocated polling station, and voting by post is not practical or appropriate for you, you can apply to vote by proxy. This is simply appointing someone to vote on your behalf. Your proxy should be someone who qualifies to vote in the election themselves (for example over 18 and a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen for a General Election), and they cannot be proxy for more than two people who are not family members.

Proxy voting by post

Your proxy can be anywhere in the United Kingdom. They can apply to vote, as your proxy, by post.

We do not provide proxy or postal proxy application forms to be downloaded due to the frequent confusion as to how to complete the applications correctly. Please contact us for a form and guidance on how to complete it.

Contact Electoral Services on 020 7361 3444 or email

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