Postal and Proxy Voting

Anyone can register to vote by post for a specific election, a set period of time or for all future elections. You can ask to have your postal ballot paper sent to any address in the UK or abroad. 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.

Postal Voting

You can apply for a postal vote up to twelve working days before an election.

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.

If you choose to vote by post, your ballot paper will be sent to you usually between one and two weeks before the election. When you have received your ballot paper, you will need to:

  • Mark your ballot paper in the normal way
  • Sign the Postal Vote Statement and supply your date of birth 
  • Return both documents in the prepaid envelope. If your ballot paper has been sent abroad, you will have to pay the postage to send it back. 
  • Make sure your completed postal vote will arrive in plenty of time before the election. If it arrives after the election poll closes it will not be counted. It if is too late to post it back, you can hand it in to your polling station or to the Returning Officer at the Council Offices on election day. 
  • Your postal vote will be mixed with all the others before counting begins, so your vote will be kept secret.
  • If you have applied for and been sent a postal vote you cannot vote in person at a polling station.

Email: elections@sholland.gov.uk

What to do to get this service

  • Fill in the Icon for pdf Application to Vote by Post [115.88KB]
  • Return it to us at any time but it must be received no later than 5pm on the 12th working day before the election. 
  • If possible, allow plenty of time when applying so you can receive your ballot paper and return it in good time.

You do not need to wait until an election is being held to apply.

Who can apply?

Anyone can vote by post as long as they are successfully registered under IER.

How long will I have to wait for a response?

When we receive an application form to vote by post we will send a letter confirming that the application has been processed normally within 3 working days of receipt.

How long will the whole process take?

Postal ballot papers are usually sent out between one and two weeks before an election. Completed postal ballot papers must be returned to the Returning Officer by the close of poll on the day of the election.

Links to forms, leaflets and websites providing more information 

Icon for pdf Application to Vote by Post [115.88KB]

Electoral Commission Website

About My Vote

Common Questions

Q. When can I apply for a Postal Vote?

A. You can apply to vote by post at any time during the year - you do not have to wait until an election is being held to apply. At the time of an election applications must be received by 5pm, 11 working days before polling day.

Q. When will I receive my Postal Ballot Paper?
A. You will receive your ballot usually between one and two weeks before the election.

Q. What happens if my postal ballot paper does not arrive?
A. You can get a replacement ballot paper by applying in person to the electoral services section up until 5pm on election day.

Q. I've spoiled my ballot paper/postal voting statement. What do I do?
A. You can get a replacement up until 5pm on election day. You must pick it up in person from the electoral services section. You will also need to return your spoilt ballot paper and the other parts of the ballot pack that were sent to you.

Q. I've lost my postal ballot paper. What do I do?
A. You can get a replacement ballot paper by applying in person to the electoral services section up until 5pm on election day.

Q. If I have applied for a postal vote, can I still vote at the polling station?
A. If you have applied to vote by post, you cannot vote in person at the polling station. However, on election day you can return your postal vote to the polling station (before 10pm) or to the Council Offices if you do not want to post it or it is too late to post it. Contact electoral services to find out where your polling station is.

Printed leaflets available providing more information

"Vote by Post" leaflet and application forms published by the Electoral Commission available in English, Portuguese, Polish, Latvian and Lithuanian from our reception area.

Proxy Voting

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.

Email: elections@sholland.gov.uk

What to do to get this service

  1. Fill in the Icon for pdf Proxy Voting Form [615.09KB]
  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

Icon for pdf Proxy Voting Form [615.09KB]

Electoral Commission Website

About My Vote

Common Questions

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.
Q.  I 've just found out I'll be away on polling day due to work commitments - can someone vote for me?
A.  You can apply to vote by emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day if your occupation, service or employment means that you cannot go to the polling station in person.  This is only if you became aware of that fact after 5pm, six working days before polling day.