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Postal Vote FAQs

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For what period does my postal vote last?

You can apply for just one election or referendum, for a specific time period, or for a permanent postal vote. Once your postal vote application is processed it will be in place for 5 years. After 5 years you are asked to provide a new signature for our records if you wish to keep your postal vote. 


When can I expect to receive my postal vote?

The Returning Officer (who is the person responsible for conducting the poll) issues postal votes, so you should contact the elections office at your local authority.

As a guide, they cannot be issued until all candidates are nominated (the deadline for this is usually 4pm 19 working days before the poll). Ballot papers then need to be printed and postal ballot packs produced. This means that in practice postal votes may not be issued until much closer to polling day.

To find out when your postal ballot papers will arrive contact your local elections office using the details here.


Why do I need to give my date of birth and signature to get a postal vote?

All postal and proxy voters are required to give their date of birth and signature when applying for a postal or proxy vote.

When you return your postal voting pack, your signature and date of birth are checked against those on your application to confirm your identity.

Your signature and date of birth are separated from your ballot paper before it is looked at or counted, so giving this information will not affect the secrecy of your vote.

For those who are unable to sign their form, or are unable to sign it in a consistent way, special provision can be made. For more information you can contact us using the details here.


I've lost my postal ballot paper. What do I do?

You can get a replacement ballot paper in person from your Returning Officer up until 5pm on polling day.


How do I cancel an existing postal vote?

To cancel your postal vote you need to contact us on the details listed here.


I'm living outside the UK - which address should I include on my postal vote application?

You will need to include the address where you were last registered to vote in the UK.

There is a section on the form for your correspondence address - you can include your overseas address in this section.


Do I need to apply again if I have changed address?

Yes. If you change address, you will need to re-register and make a new application to vote by post or by proxy - your voting preference will not be carried forward to your new address. You can register to vote at 

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