Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you’re unable to get to the polling station.
Postal votes are now available on demand without having to give reason, unless your postal vote is being sent to an address other than the one you’re registered at. We can send your ballot paper to any address in the UK or abroad.
New postal vote applications and requests for changes to existing postal votes must be received no later than 5pm, 11 working days before polling day.
If you choose to vote by post, be aware that your postal vote may not be sent out until very close to the election, particularly if you apply close to the deadline. You must take this into consideration if you are away prior to the date of the election, or have asked for the postal vote to be redirected abroad.
You can now apply for a postal vote online. As part of the application you will need:
- your National Insurance number
- to upload a copy of your signature.
To vote by post in the Local, Police and Crime Commissioner and Combined Authority Mayoral Elections taking place on 2 May 2024, we must receive your postal vote application by 5pm on Wednesday 17 April 2024
How Postal Voting Works
Postal votes are sent to all registered postal voters in the two weeks before polling day. We can’t send postal votes out earlier than this, so we advise all postal voters to take into consideration their availability to vote before planning any holidays.
Your postal vote will contain your ballot paper(s) and a ‘Postal Voter’s Statement’, on which you’ll need to provide your date of birth and signature. These details are checked against those provided on your application form, so your postal vote will not be counted if they’re missing or don’t match.
Your postal vote must be completed and returned to us, in the first class envelope provided, before 10pm on polling day. Any postal votes received after this time can’t be accepted.
You can return your postal vote by Royal Mail. Take it to the post box yourself or give it to somebody you trust to post it for you, or it can be hand delivered to a Town Hall or Polling Station.
If you return your postal vote by hand you will need to complete further documentation at your drop off point. You can hand deliver no more than FIVE plus your own postal votes (for each election).
- DO NOT leave your postal vote in any Council Office post boxes or unattended reception points
- DO NOT hand it to a candidate or campaigner
- DO NOT leave it where someone else can pick it up
You must return your ballot paper by election day, or your vote will not be counted.
Once your postal vote has been received it will be processed and the personal identifiers checked, before the ballot paper is secured and taken to be included in the count. Your ‘Postal Voter’s Statement’ and ballot paper are handled separately to make your vote anonymous.
Although the postal votes are opened and checked, the ballot papers are handled face down until the start of count following the close of poll, so that it’s not possible to see how the votes have been cast.
You can apply to have a postal vote for:
- one election day only
- for a period of time (for example if you will be working away for a period of time)
- for a period of up to 3 years.
If you want a postal vote long term, you will need to reapply for your postal vote no later than the third 31st January after it was granted. This reapplication process will begin in January 2026, and the Elections Office will send correspondence out to electors to advise them if their postal vote is coming up for re-application.
How you apply for a postal vote has now changed. You must now have your identity verified before we can grant a postal vote. To do this, you need to provide your National Insurance Number which will be used (along with your name and date of birth) to compare against Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) records. This is similar to the process when you register to vote.
If you do not have your National Insurance Number, or if your details do not match against those held by the DWP, then you will be asked to provide further documentary evidence to verify your identity. This can however delay the process.
You need to provide your date of birth and signature on the application. These Identifiers are checked against the same personal identifiers you provide when you return your postal vote. This is to ensure that only you can use the postal vote which was sent to you.
You can now apply for a postal vote online.
If you apply online, you will need to upload a copy or image of your signature. To ensure that is accepted, and to make sure it can be matched against the one returned with your postal vote, it should be completed in a dark (preferably black) pen against a white (or very pale) plain background.
If you are unable to complete your postal vote application online, then contact us at email@example.com.
After you’ve sent your application
Once the application has been processed, we will send you a letter confirming your postal vote has been accepted. You must check this letter carefully. It’s your responsibility to make sure that all the details are correct. You should contact the elections office immediately if you find something wrong.
If you apply close to the deadline you will receive this confirmation letter sooner than your postal vote.
All personal identifiers (personal details) collected upon application for a postal vote will be held securely by us, and will not be used for any purposes other than checking against your Postal Voter’s Statement.
If your postal vote is rejected at an election because the personal identifiers on your Postal Voter’s Statement do not match the one on your original application, we will write to you to let you know after the election. Where there is a discrepancy in the signatures provided, we will give you the opportunity to update the signature we hold for you, to try and prevent this from happening again.