Elections - voting by proxy
How we provide this service
Information about voting by proxy is supported by Electoral Services.
Voting by proxy means appointing someone to vote for you at your polling station. Your proxy goes to the polling station on polling day and marks your ballot paper in the normal way. Your proxy may apply to receive your ballot paper by post.
If you appoint a proxy, you may vote in person provided you do so before your proxy. However, if your proxy votes by post, you will not be able to vote in person or by post.
Because of a change in the law, Election Registration Officers now have to keep a copy of the signature and date of birth for every person wishing to have a postal or proxy vote. These regulations have been introduced to make absent voting at elections more secure.
There are certain exemptions for those who are unable to provide a signature, for example if the applicant has a disability or is unable to read or write.
What to do to get this service
1. Fill in the Application to Vote by Proxy form (PDF, 104KB)
2. Return it to us no later than 5pm on the sixth working day before an election.
3. Inform your proxy which candidate(s) you wish to vote for prior to an election.
Who can apply?
If you have a reason that prevents you from voting in person at your polling station you can apply to vote by proxy.
You have to give a reason to vote by proxy and applications, other than for a particular election, need to be supported by another qualified person. The valid grounds for applying for a long term proxy vote are:
- Physical incapacity or blindness (applications need to be supported by a registered medical practitioner, registered nurse or Christian Science practitioner who is giving you care or treatment. If you are in a residential home or sheltered housing the head of the home or warden can support your application. If you are registered blind or receive the higher rate of the disability living allowance you do not need to get anyone to support your application)
- Occupation, service, employment (applications need to be signed by your employer or someone authorised to sign on their behalf. If you are self-employed someone who knows you, is not related to you and is over 18 can support your application).
- Attendance on a course (applications need to be supported by someone authorised to sign on behalf of the college/educational institution).
- Registered as a service voter
- Journey by sea or air to the polling station
If you want to vote by proxy just for a particular election you must specify the reason why you can not vote in person at your polling station but do not need to get anyone to support your application.
How long will I have to wait for a response?
When we receive an application form to vote by proxy we will send a letter confirming that the application has been processed normally within 3 working days of receipt. We will also write to the person appointed as the proxy.
How long will the whole process take?
Notification of where and when to vote will be sent to the appointed proxy approximately one week before polling day.
Links to forms, leaflets and websites providing more information
Application to Vote by Proxy form (PDF, 104KB)
About my Vote
Q. What is voting by proxy?
A. Voting by proxy means appointing someone else to vote on your behalf if you are not able to get to your polling station.
Q. When can I apply to vote by proxy?
A. If you want to apply for a long term proxy vote you can apply at any time during the year and you do not have to wait until an election is being held. At the time of an election applications must be received by 5pm 6 working days before polling day. However, if you have a medical emergency 6 days before election day or after, you can apply to vote by emergency proxy if the emergency means that you cannot go to the polling station.
Q. A relative/friend has been suddenly incapacitated/taken ill. Can I vote on their behalf?
A. They can apply to vote by emergency proxy for medical reasons up until 5pm on polling day.
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