Voting by post

On this page you can find out how to cast your vote by post at a UK election or referendum.

Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you are unable to get to the polling station.

Applying to vote by post

If you haven’t already arranged to vote by post in elections, you will need to apply by 5pm on Wednesday 8 June to vote by post in the EU Referendum.

Overseas voters – please note: There may not now be enough time for ballot papers to be posted out from the UK, completed and posted back again in time for your vote to be counted in the EU Referendum. If you are an overseas voter, you should consider voting by proxy instead.

In England, Scotland and Wales, once you are registered you will need to complete a postal vote application form.

Download the form to apply to vote by post (PDF)

After completing the form, you'll need to print it, sign it, and send it back to your local electoral registration office.

Why do I need to sign my form?

You need to sign your application form personally because the electoral registration office needs a copy of your signature for voting security reasons. We know it's slightly less convenient than submitting it online, but it helps to ensure the security of your vote and is used to tackle electoral fraud.

Northern Ireland

To apply to vote by post or by proxy at the EU referendum in Northern Ireland,  you will need to complete an application form and send it to your local area electoral office to arrive by 5pm on 3 June 2016.

Visit the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website to download the correct form.

Who can apply for a postal vote?

Anyone who is registered to vote can apply for a postal vote. You do not need a reason to vote by post.

If you would like to apply for a postal vote in Northern Ireland, visit the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website.

Where can I get my postal vote sent?

A postal vote can be set to your home address or any other address that you provide.

Postal votes can be sent overseas, but you will need to consider whether there will be enough time to receive and return your ballot paper so it arrives back by 10pm on polling day.

When will I receive my ballot papers?

Postal ballots can only be sent out once the deadline to become a candidate has passed and the ballot papers have subsequently been produced and printed. You can contact your local electoral registration office to find out when your postal ballot papers will be issued.

Once you've got it, mark your vote on the ballot paper and make sure you send it back so that it arrives by 10pm on the day of the election or referendum. If it arrives later than this, your vote won't be counted.

1. When you get your postal voting papers

  • Put them somewhere safe
  • Don't let anyone else handle them
  • Make sure they are not left where someone else can pick them up

2. When you want to vote

  • Complete your ballot paper in secret, on your own
  • Don't let anyone else vote for you
  • Don't let anyone else see your vote
  • Don't give the ballot paper to anyone else
  • Put the ballot paper in the envelope and seal it up yourself
  • Complete and sign the postal voting statement
  • Put the postal voting statement and the envelope containing your ballot paper into the larger supplied envelope and seal it.

3. When you return your postal vote

  • Take it to the post box yourself, if you can
  • If you can't do that, either give it to somebody you know and trust to post it for you, or ring your local electoral registration office, to ask if they can collect it from you
  • Don't hand it to a candidate or party worker unless no other way is practical
  • Don't leave it where someone else can pick it up

Remember that this is your vote – so keep it for yourself!

If anyone tries to help you against your will, or force you to give them your postal vote, you should contact the police.

If you have any other queries, ring your local electoral registration office. You can find their contact details by entering your postcode in the 'Your local area' section of our homepage.