Changes to postal vote rules

Published date

Postal vote packs for the upcoming May elections will be sent out next Thursday 18 April. Ahead of the packs arriving, there are some key changes to the rules around postal votes that are due to take effect in these elections.

Ban on political campaigners handling postal votes

Political campaigners are now banned from handling postal votes, except where the postal vote is their own, that of a close family member, or someone they provide regular care for. 

Limits on the number of postal votes handed in

You can only hand in up to 5 postal vote ballot packs for other voters (on top of your own). If you hand in more than 5 from other voters, all the postal votes (other than your own) will be rejected.

Completion of postal vote return form

When handing in a postal vote, you now need to complete a postal vote return form. The person handing in the vote will need to complete the form with their name, address and, if handing in other people’s votes, the reason for doing so.

You will also need to complete a declaration that you are not handing in more than the permitted number and that you are not a political campaigner.

If the form is not completed fully the postal votes will be rejected.

Postal votes which are ‘left behind’

Postal votes will not be accepted if they are simply left our offices or at a polling station. We also cannot accept any postal votes which are left in the council mailbox, or which are put in the internal mail system.

Secrecy requirements extended to postal and proxy votes

The secrecy requirements which apply at a polling station are being extended to postal and proxy votes.

You cannot try to find out how someone has voted when completing their postal vote, or to communicate how a postal or proxy voter has voted. Anyone found guilty of breaching the secrecy requirements could face a fine or imprisonment up to 6 months. 

What does this mean?

Make sure you return your postal vote with Royal Mail in plenty of time.

If you have missed the post, you can still hand it in before 10pm on polling day (Thursday 2 May), but you will need to complete a form.