Provision of a facility whereby people who cannot attend the
polling station on an election day can have postal ballot papers
sent to them.
The deadline for applying to vote by post for elections is
usually 11 working days before an election.
Who can apply for a postal vote?
Anyone aged 18 or over can apply for a postal vote.
You do not need a reason to vote by post.
Where can I get my postal vote
A postal vote can be sent to your home address or to 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
Postal votes are usually sent out about a week before election
How do I complete and return my postal
When you receive your postal vote ballot pack, you need to
follow these six steps to make sure your vote counts.
- Read the instructions carefully.
- Mark your vote clearly.
- Place your ballot paper in envelope A and seal.
- Enter your date of birth in the relevant boxes DD MM
- Sign the postal voting statement - DO NOT detach it from
- Put the postal voting statement and envelope A into the
larger envelope B. Then seal it and return it as soon as
Postal votes must be received before voting closes
on election day. Electors are encouraged to post back their
ballot papers at least 2 days before election day to ensure that
they are received in time.
Absent Vote Signature Refresh
Absent Voters (i.e. those who vote by post)
are required to provide a signature and date of birth when
they first apply ('personal identifiers').
When you are sent your postal vote for an
election you are required to provide your signature and date of
birth on a postal voting statement. These 'personal
identifiers' are checked against those you provided on your
original postal vote application form, to ensure that they
match. This is to prevent someone else from using your
vote. If they do not match, your vote cannot be
counted. Your personal identifiers are always kept separate
from your ballot paper, so no-one knows how you have voted.
An important part of these security measures
is providing a fresh specimen signature every 5 years, since
people's signatures and circumstances can change over time.
The legislation requires the Electoral Registration Officer to
commmence the first annual refresh of signatures by 31
January 2012 in order to ensure that the signatures
for as many absent voters as possible are refreshed, producing as
accurate a record as possible and potentially limiting the number
of postal votes that are rejected due to mis-matched
Therefore, anyone who has had a postal, proxy
or postal proxy since January 2007 will be sent a signature refresh
form for us to legally request your latest signature.
Please look out for the form being sent to
your address at the end of January 2012. Please make sure you
sign and return it as soon as possible to save your money as
we legally have to send a reminder 3 weeks later to everyone who
does not respond.
If you have a disability which means that you
either cannot provide a signature or sign in a consistent and
distinctive way, please indicate this on the form and make sure the
name and address of your helper is provided.
If you no longer want to vote by post
you must respond by ticking the relevant box on the form and return
it to us as soon as possible in order to avoid any unnecessary
If you do not return the signature refresh
form by the deadline your existing absent vote facility will be
cancelled and you will have to vote in person or make a new