May elections

You must register to vote in the upcoming May elections before Wednesday 17 April. If you cannot attend the elections, you can apply for a postal vote before 5pm on Wednesday 17 April. Find all the key dates on our election news page.

 

How to vote

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

When an election takes place, there are 3 ways you can vote:

  • in person
  • by post
  • by proxy

In person

Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm on polling day for you to vote in person.

Following the government's new voter security measures, you need to show photo ID at the polling station before you receive your ballot paper.

Accepted photo ID includes:

  • driving licence
  • passport
  • Blue Badge
  • PASS card (National Proof of Age Standards Scheme)
  • biometric residence permit (BRP)
  • Defence Identity Card (MOD form 90)
  • certain national identity cards
  • certain travel passes

You can find a full list of acceptable photo ID on GOV.UK.

If you do not have a type of photo ID that allows you to vote, you will need to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.

You can find more information on how to vote in person, on The Electoral Commission website.

By post

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

You must apply no later than 5pm, 11 working days before the first election you want a postal vote for.

warning icon
Warning text

There are some rule changes for postal votes coming into effect for the May 2024 elections.

You’ll need:

  • the address where you are registered to vote
  • your National Insurance number or other identity documents, for example a passport
  • the specific date of the election or referendum you want to make a postal vote, if you only want a one-off postal vote

You’ll also need to upload a photo of your handwritten signature in black ink on plain white paper.

If you cannot provide a signature or one that always looks the same, you may be able to apply for a postal vote signature waiver within the service.

If you cannot apply online, download and fill in a postal vote application form. Send it to: Electoral Services, Latton Bush Centre, Southern Way, Harlow CM18 7BL.

After you have applied for a postal vote, we will send your postal vote pack to your registered address, around 2 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 10pm on election day.

You cannot 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

You can get someone else to vote on your behalf (a proxy) if you cannot go to the polling station in person.

You can only apply for a proxy vote under certain circumstances, including:

  • being away on polling day
  • having a medical issue or disability
  • not being able to vote in person because of work or military service

You can ask anyone to act as your proxy - as long as they:

  • are registered to vote
  • are allowed to vote in the type of election taking place
  • are not acting as proxy for more than 2 people living in the UK (or 4 overseas voters)

You must apply by 5pm, at least 6 working days before polling day.

If you miss the deadline you may be able to apply for an emergency proxy vote.

You’ll need:

  • your National Insurance number or any other identity document, for example a birth certificate
  • the address where your proxy is registered to vote
  • contact details for your proxy

You’ll also need to upload a photo of your handwritten signature in black ink on plain white paper.

If you cannot provide a signature or one that always looks the same, you may be able to apply for a proxy vote signature waiver within the service.

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.

If you cannot apply online, download and fill in a proxy voting application form. Send it to: Electoral Services, Latton Bush Centre, Southern Way, Harlow CM18 7BL.

After you have applied for a proxy vote, we will send your proxy a poll card about a week before the election day, telling them which polling station to go to vote.

Your proxy will need to take their own photo ID when they go to vote on your behalf. They do not need to take yours.

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.