Voting

You need to be registered to vote before you can vote in an election

When an election takes place, there are three ways you can vote:

  • in person
  • by post
  • by proxy

In person

For information on how to vote in person, look at Your Vote Matters.

By post

If you are unable to go to your polling station on an election day, you can apply for a postal vote.

To apply for a postal vote, you need to:

  • complete the postal vote application form
  • send the form to Electoral Registration Officer, The Latton Bush Centre, Southern Way, Harlow CM18 7BL

We must receive your postal vote application at least 11 working days before the election.

If we do not receive your application in time you will still be able to vote at the polling station on the election day.

After you have applied for a postal vote, we will:

  • send you a letter to let you know your application has been accepted
  • send your postal vote pack to your registered address, around two weeks before the election day

Instructions about how to cast your postal vote are included in your pack.

We must receive your completed postal vote by 10 pm on election day.

You can’t vote at a polling station if you have a postal vote. However, if it is too late to post your vote, you can take it to your polling station on the election day.

By proxy

If you are unable to go to your polling station on an election day, you can apply to vote by proxy. 

This means that someone can vote on your behalf.  They need to go to your polling station on election day.

If they cannot get to the polling station they can apply for a postal proxy vote up to 5 pm, 11 working days before the election.

You may need a proxy if:

  • you’ll be away
  • you’ll be at work
  • you’ll be attending a course
  • you’re disabled
  • you’re living overseas
  • you’re serving overseas as a member of the armed forces
  • you’re a British Council employee or Crown servant

Anyone who is registered can apply for a proxy, but you must provide a reason.

If you are applying for a permanent proxy because of a disability, education or employment reasons, you also need to get someone to support the application. 

To apply for a proxy vote, you need to:

  • choose and complete the proxy vote application form for the reason you cannot vote in person. There are different forms, depending on your reason. Make sure you complete the right one.  
  • send the form to Electoral Registration Officer, The Latton Bush Centre, Southern Way, Harlow CM18 7BL

Your proxy must be registered to vote and cannot be proxy for more than two people at any one election unless they are a close relative.

We must receive your proxy vote application at least six working days before the election.

However, you can apply for an emergency proxy on medical or work grounds up until 5 pm on polling day if you are suddenly taken ill.

After you have applied for a postal vote, we will:

  • send you and your proxy a letter to let you know your application has been accepted
  • send your proxy a poll card about a week before the election day, telling them which polling station to go to vote

If you have a proxy, 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 or change a postal vote or proxy

If you need to cancel or change a postal vote or proxy, you need to:

We must receive your form at least 11 working days before the election.