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Voting by Post

Overview

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

Postal votes are now available on demand without having to give reason, unless your postal vote is being sent to an address other than the one at which you are registered. We can send your ballot paper to any address in the UK or abroad.

If you wish to change an existing postal vote or apply for a new postal vote requests must be received no later than 5pm eleven working days before polling day.

If you choose to vote by post, your ballot paper will be sent to you during the week before election day.


A postal vote application form is available below.

Essential Information
  • Applications can be downloaded from our website or the Electoral Commission (links and attachments below). The form must be printed out and completed, as we require a physical signature on the application form.

    You should ensure that you complete all sections of the application form, and return it directly to the Elections Office. Any incomplete forms will be returned to you for further information.

    If you require assistance in completing the application form, you should contact the elections office helpline immediately.

  • Once you have completed the postal vote application form and returned it to the elections office, it will be processed as soon as possible. If there are any queries with the form, or if any part has been filled in incorrectly, then you will be contacted.

    Once the form is correct and has been processed, you will receive a letter confirming that your application has been accepted and that your postal vote has been put into place. This will provide details of where your postal vote will be sent, and for how long these voting arrangements will be in place. PLEASE CHECK THIS LETTER CAREFULLY. It is your responsibility to ensure that all the details are correct. If you find something wrong, you should contact the elections office immediately.

    Postal voters are sent yellow poll cards instead of the white ones received by electors who are registered to vote in person at a polling station. These poll cards are sent out several weeks before an election, and contain information on how to cancel or amend your postal vote, including all the relevant deadlines.

  • If you wish your postal vote to go to a different address to the one that you originally requested, then you should write and tell the elections office immediately.

    You should also contact us in writing if you have changed your name. You are likely to receive a new postal vote application once we have processed this change of name, as we will need to check whether there has been any change to your signature, and if there is, capture the new one.

    If you change the address where you are registered to vote, your postal vote will not automatically transfer with you when you re-register. The postal vote will be cancelled at your previous address, and you will need to complete a new application form if you wish to continue voting by post.

  • Postal Votes will be posted out to all postal voters the week before polling day. It is not possible for a postal vote to be sent out any earlier than this. YOU SHOULD CONSIDER THIS CAREFULLY IF YOU WILL BE GOING ON HOLIDAY IN THE DAYS AND WEEKS BEFORE POLLING DAY.

    Your postal vote will contain your ballot paper(s) and a ‘Postal Voter’s Statement’, on which you will need to provide your date of birth and signature. These are checked against those provided on your application form, so if they are missing or do not match, then your postal vote will not be counted.

    The postal vote must be completed and returned to the Elections Office, in the first class envelope provided, before 10pm on polling day. Any postal votes received after this time will not be accepted.

    Postal Votes can be returned in the post, using the envelope provided, handed in in person at the Elections Office, or handed in at a polling station (providing it is a polling station within your own electoral area – this is usually within your ward).

    Once your postal vote has been received, it will be processed and the personal idenitifiers checked, before the ballot paper is secured and taken to be included in the count. Your ‘Postal Voter’s Statement’ and ballot paper are dealt with separately, meaning that it is not possible to tell how a person has voted.

    Although the postal votes are opened and checked, the ballot papers are handled face down until the start of count following the close of poll, so that it is not possible to see how the votes have been cast.

  • All Personal Identifiers collected upon application for a postal vote will be held securely by the Elections Office, and will not be used for any purposes other than checking against the Postal Voter’s Statement.

    There is an understanding that people’s signatures change over time, and therefore there is a legal requirement for the Elections Office to undertake an exercise to refresh the personal identifiers of anyone who has had a postal vote for more than 5 years.

    This will now be an annual exercise undertaken each year. It was undertaken for the first time in January 2012. Anyone who receives a new form as part of this exercise who does not reply to the request for a new signature within 6 weeks would have their postal vote cancelled.

  • Once you have been granted a postal vote and the deadline has passed, you will not be able to go and vote in person, instead you MUST use the postal vote that has been sent to you.

    It is possible to obtain a replacement postal vote if yours has been lost, stolen or damaged, or if you have spoilt it in some way. There are certain rules and deadlines which apply in these cases, which are laid out below:


    If all or part of your postal vote has been lost, or if you have not received it, it is possible to obtain a replacement. This replacement cannot be issued until 4 working days before polling day. On or after this date, you can obtain a replacement postal vote from the elections office, or by having it posted out to you. You will be required to complete a declaration confirming that you have lost/not received the postal vote, and if you collect the postal vote in person, you will need to provide identification.


    If following the reissue of a replacement postal vote you find or receive the original, you should throw it away, as it will have been cancelled and will not be counted, even if it is returned to us.

    If you spoil or damage all or part of your postal vote, you can also obtain a replacement. In these circumstances, you are required to return all (or as much of) the original postal vote pack as you can. We will then be able to issue a replacement. Again the postal vote can be posted out to you, or can be collected in person from the elections office. A declaration will need to be completed, and again, if the postal vote is collected in person, then identification will also be required.

    A replacement on the grounds of a postal vote being spoilt or damaged can be requested at any time once the postal vote has been received.


Frequently Asked Questions
Attachments
attached document Elections – Postal Vote Application
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