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How and where to vote

The traditional way to vote is to go along to your local polling station or, if you prefer not to go to your polling station, you can choose to vote by post or for someone to vote on your behalf (a proxy vote).


Voting at a polling station

Each voter has a specific polling station serving their area. A poll card is sent to everyone on the electoral register shortly before an election, giving the address of the polling station.

If you do not receive a poll card before an election, but think you are registered to vote, please contact us. You do not need to take the poll card with you to be able to vote.

Voting by post

Only electors who are (or will be) registered individually are entitled to apply to vote by post. A postal vote can be sent to your home address or any other address you specify - you will need to provide a reason if you want your vote forwarded onto a different address from where you are registered to vote.

Postal votes can be sent overseas, but you need to consider whether there would be time to receive and return your ballot paper by polling day.

Postal voting papers are usually dispatched about 10 days before polling day and if you have been sent a postal vote, you cannot vote at a polling station.

Postal votes can be posted back to the Council offices or returned by hand to either the Council offices or a polling station in your ward/constituency.

Postal votes have to be received by the close of poll on polling day (10pm)

Apply for a postal vote

Voting by proxy

Only electors who are (or will be) registered individually for a particular election or referendum are entitled to vote by proxy at that election or referendum. In addition, the person you wish to appoint as your proxy can only act as proxy if they are (or will be) registered individually.

If you change your mind and wish to vote in person, you can still do so, providing that your proxy has not already voted on your behalf.

If your proxy cannot get to your polling station, they can apply to vote by post, however you will not then be able to vote in person

Apply for a proxy vote

The form can only be used to arrange a proxy vote for a single election. Please contact Electoral Services if you require a permanent arrangement, you can only vote by proxy on an indefinite basis for reasons of physical incapacity or occupation, service, employment or attendance on a course.

As a proxy voter, you must go to the polling station of the person who appointed you as their proxy. If you cannot go to their polling station, you can apply to vote for them by post up to 5pm, 11 working days before the poll.

Emergency proxy

If you were planning on voting in person on election day, but now won’t be able to because you have been called away for work or you personally have a medical emergency, you may be able to apply for an emergency proxy. This means you can appoint someone to vote on your behalf.

You can only apply for an emergency proxy for one of two reasons;

  • because you have been called away unexpectedly for work
  • a medical emergency which must relate to you – you can’t get an emergency proxy due to a medical emergency involving a friend or relative

In both cases you must have become aware of this after 5pm, on the sixth working day before the poll. You will need support for your application from a qualified person (full details are included on the application form).

You can only apply for an emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day

Apply for an emergency proxy