A postal vote is when your ballot paper is sent to you by post before polling day. Instead of going to the polling station and completing the ballot paper, the ballot paper is sent direct to an address of your choice. Once you have completed the ballot paper and filled in the necessary paperwork you can then send it back in the envelope provided or deliver it to the polling station on Election Day. It must reach the Returning Officer by 10pm on the day of the poll.
To apply for a postal vote you will need to complete and return the below form.
You are required to provide your date of birth and signature on the form - these are later compared with the signature and date of birth you submit with your ballot papers to ensure that they have been completed by the correct person, but do not identify how you have cast your vote.
If you are unable to provide a signature for any reason you should indicate this on the form as you may be eligible for a signature waiver. Please provide details of anyone who assists you in completing the form. It is not possible for someone else to apply for a postal vote on your behalf or to sign the form on your behalf.
The form also asks you to specify how long you wish to vote by post.
You can apply for a postal vote at any time during the year, however there is a deadline by which postal vote applications must be received in advance of an election.
Postal voting packs are sent out around 1-2 weeks before an election. The expected date of delivery will be included on your postal poll card and we are not able to send individual packs out early. If you will be going away before or very close to the date of delivery and will still be away on election day then you may want to consider a proxy vote or depending on timings your postal vote may be able to be sent to another address. If you will be back by election day then it is still possible for you to complete your postal vote and hand it in to your usual polling station or the Council Offices up to 10pm on polling day. Postal votes received after this time will not be able to be counted.
The Electoral Registration Officer is legally required to ask voters who have had an absent vote for more than five years to confirm their date of birth and provide an up-to-date signature. This information will then be used to replace the voter's original absent vote application form.
Every year, during January, a Personal Identifier Refresh form will be sent to every elector whose original postal or proxy voting application is more than five years old. This form should be returned to the Electoral Services Team by the specified deadline to ensure that your absent voting arrangements remain in place.
If you do not return the form by the deadline you will be sent a reminder notice. If you do not reply to the reminder, we are required by law to cancel your absent vote and you will have to vote in person at your allocated polling station.
You can also use the form to cancel your postal or proxy vote if you no longer require it.