Postal and Proxy voting

If you are unable to get to the polling station to vote in person then you can apply to vote either by post or by proxy.

Postal voting

You can apply to have your ballot paper(s) sent to you in the post either permanently, for a set time period or for a particular election. Applications must be received by 5pm eleven working days before the election and therefore the ballot paper(s) are sent out about two weeks prior to the election day. Your postal vote will be sent to your registered address unless you ask for it to be sent to a different address giving a suitable reason.

 

Please return your completed form to: Electoral Registration Officer, The Latton Bush Centre, Southern Way, Harlow CM18 7BL

What happens after I’ve returned the application form for postal vote?

Once your application has been processed and accepted you will be sent an acknowledgment letter. Please note that in the run up to an election acknowledgements are sent out upon receipt however for the remainder of the year it could take up to four weeks for you to receive your acknowledgement letter.

When an election is going to be held you will receive a postal poll card letting you know the date of the election and the exact date when your postal vote will be sent to you as well as any other information or instructions.

Postal vote packs are then usually sent out two weeks before the date of the election and completed postal votes must be received by 10pm on election day. Along with your ballot paper(s) you will also be sent a postal voting statement where you will be asked to provide your personal identifiers (date of birth and signature). Then when we receive your completed postal vote we check your personal identifiers provided on this statement with the ones that you supply on your application form. This security check is needed to tackle fraud therefore, it is important that your signature is kept consistent.

If your postal voting statement is accepted your ballot paper will be mixed with all the others before counting begins, so your vote will be kept secret. If you have been sent a postal vote, you cannot vote in person at the polling station. Please contact and Advisor at Contact Harlow for an application form.

Why do you need me to provide a signature every five years?

By law, when you apply to vote by post you had to provide your signature and date of birth on your application. When you return ballot papers by post you also have to return a postal voting statement which includes your signature and date of birth, and we compare these with your original application to check that they match. If they do not match then your vote cannot be counted, so it is very important that we have accurate records. Having a fresh signature every five years ensures that our records are up to date. If you do not provide a fresh signature every five years when requested we will write to tell you that your postal voting arrangements have been cancelled and you will need to go to the polling station to vote on polling day. However, you can make a new application to vote by post at any time. (Applications to vote by post must be received no later than the eleventh working day before the date of the relevant election.)

Proxy Voting

If you cannot go to your polling station you can also apply to vote by proxy. This means that someone can vote on your behalf. This is especially useful if you are overseas and it would be difficult to return your postal vote in time. Your proxy must be legally able to vote and they cannot vote on behalf of more than two people unless they are closely related to them. You can apply for a one-off proxy or a permanent proxy and applications must be received by 5pm six working days before the election, however you can apply for an emergency proxy on medical grounds up until 5pm on polling day if you are suddenly taken ill. As with postal voting all applicants must provide their date of birth and signature.

All proxy applications must give a reason for applying.

  • One-off proxy - you can appoint someone to vote on your behalf for one specific election only. You do not have to have a specific reason to appoint a proxy for a one off election.
  • Permanent proxy - you can appoint someone to vote on your behalf indefinitely. You must give a valid reason for the application and it must also be attested. The attestation will either be a declaration of support from an employer, course tutor, registered medical practitioner or carer or if you are in receipt of disability living allowance or are registered blind then you only have to provide the relevant number.

 

Please return your completed form to: Electoral Registration Officer, The Latton Bush Centre, Southern Way, Harlow CM18 7BL

What happens after I’ve returned the application form for a proxy vote?

Once the application has been granted an acknowledgement letter will be sent to both the elector and their proxy. About a week before the election the proxy will be sent a proxy poll card (this will usually be in the form of an A4 letter) which they should take to the polling station indicated, this is to assist the staff however it is not compulsory.

If a proxy is unable to get to the polling station they can apply to have the ballot papers sent via the post. If you have appointed a proxy to vote on your behalf but then find that you are able to go to the polling station on election day you can vote yourself as long as your proxy has not already voted or has not been sent your votes by post.

Cancel a Postal or Proxy vote

Any cancellations or changes to a postal or proxy vote must be received, in writing, at any time up to 11 days before an election. Please contact an Advisor at Contact Harlow for an application form.