How to vote
When an election is called, each registered elector will be sent a Poll Card advising where and when they can vote. These cards will usually be sent out approximately 2 weeks before the election. You do not need to take the card with you to the polling station.
However, if you have applied for either a postal or a proxy vote you will be sent a separate notification.
Voting by Post, by Proxy or in Person
You can choose which method suits you best, to fit in with your lifestyle or to help your vote to be counted if you can't make it to the polling station yourself.
Vote by Post
Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you are unable to get to the polling station.
Fill in the application to vote by post.
When you have made an application for a postal vote we will send you an acknowledgement letter. A ballot paper will be sent direct to the address that you have given on your application. The ballot papers will be sent during the two weeks before election day.
There will be instructions with your ballot paper about how and where to return your vote. You will be required to complete a postal vote statement which will contain your signature and date of birth to return with your ballot paper.
You must ensure that it is delivered back before the close of poll on polling day, and you can hand it in at any polling station within the same voting area during the hours of poll if you wish.
Please note that if you choose to vote by post then you will not be able to vote in person at a polling station.
If you are unable to provide a consistent signature, please contact the Elections Office to apply for a signature waiver.
Voting by Proxy
Voting by Proxy means appointing someone else to vote on your behalf. All you need to do is fill in a proxy vote application form. This is available for various reasons, for example if you are away on holiday, working away from home or if you are a student.
If you find that you are able to vote in person at your polling station on polling day, you can still do this but only if you go to the polling station before your proxy does.
Vote by Postal Proxy
If the person that you have appointed as your proxy is unable to get to the polling station for example if they live in a different area, you can apply for a postal proxy vote and they will have the ballot paper sent to them instead, much the same as a regular postal vote. You will need to fill in a postal proxy vote form to arrange this.
Absent Vote Signature Refresh
Each year we are legally required to write to all absent voters (either postal or proxy) whose signatures are more than 5 years old, asking them to complete an application form to provide a fresh signature.
When absent voters (people who vote by post or proxy) first apply to vote by this method they are required to complete an application form. On the application form, they are required to provide a signature and a date of birth.
During election time, postal ballot papers are sent out to all postal voters along with a postal vote statement. Each person is required to complete and return the postal vote statement by providing their signature and date of birth along with their completed ballot paper. The signature and date of birth are then checked alongside the original application form to ensure that they match and therefore prevent the possibility of any voting fraud. It does NOT mean that the vote can be identified.
Absent voters who have been granted a waiver will not be affected by the signature refresh.
If you are an absent voter and your signature is more than five years old, a new form will be posted to your address. Please complete and return the form in the prepaid envelope as soon as possible as we are legally required to send you a reminder. If you no longer require an absent vote please indicate this on the form and return back to us, thus avoiding any unnecessary reminders.
If we do not receive a completed new form from you, your absent vote will be cancelled and you will have to vote in person at your local polling station for future elections or make a new application.
Voting in Person
If you have not requested a postal or proxy vote, we will send you an ordinary poll card before election day.
The location of your polling station will be printed on your poll card along with the times between which you can go along and vote (7.00am to 10.00pm).
The poll card is for your information only. You do not need to take it to the polling station in order to vote, although it will help the polling staff if you do.
Please note that any application form can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Elections helpline telephone number is 01909 533 252
For more information about the voting system, please go to About My Vote website.
Find My Polling Station
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