How postal voting works
Anyone who is registered can apply for a postal vote and you do not need to wait until an election is approaching to apply.
If you are not sure if you are registered to vote you can check by calling 01529 414155. If you are not registered, you can apply online.
From 31 October 2023 an elector can apply to vote by post online or via a paper form. A postal vote can be sent to the voter’s registered home address or to an address where he/she will be at the time of an election. However, for security reasons, an elector must give a reason on their application if they ask for their postal vote to be sent to another address.
A postal vote can be set up temporarily for a certain election date only, for a specified period (e.g. while a student is away at university), or for the maximum period allowed, which is now up to 3 years. After this time a new application will need to be submitted.
If you have a postal vote and move house you will first need to re-register to change your address on the electoral register and then complete a new application to vote by post for your new address.
Apply to vote by post
From 31 October 2023 anyone applying for a postal vote will need to provide their National Insurance Number as part of the application or a reason why they cannot provide one, so their identity can be verified. If any details do not match or the applicant has been unable to provide a National Insurance Number, there will be a further process to be followed for the identity check before the postal vote application can be approved.
Also from 31 October you can make the application to vote by post online at www.gov.uk/apply-postal-vote. This is the quickest and easiest way to make an application, which will be sent directly to Electoral Services. You will need to have the ability to upload a clear photo or scan of your pen signature on a piece of plain white paper as part of your application.
If you cannot apply online postal vote application forms are available to download from the Electoral Commission website or can be requested from Electoral Services (using the contact details at the bottom of this page). Once the form has been completed with a pen signature, it can be returned in paper form to our Sleaford office, or as an email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are submitting an application to vote by post at a particular election, ensure you allow sufficient time for an application to reach us by the deadline for that election, particularly if you are returning a paper form by post. We would recommend making the application online at www.gov.uk/apply-postal-vote.
At election time, when you are sent your postal voting pack, it will contain a Postal Voting Statement form, which you must complete with your date of birth and signature, and an envelope in which to place your marked ballot paper. For your vote to be counted, you must return both the Postal Vote Statement and the ballot paper.
Voting from overseas
If you want the postal vote to be sent to an overseas address, you should be confident that the postal services can deliver it to you and then return the completed vote to our Sleaford offices by the date of the election, so that it can be counted. If you are not sure that this can be done, the best idea might be to appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf instead. They would normally need to vote at the polling station for the address at which you are registered, or to which you are linked if you are an overseas elector (your ‘qualifying address’).
The larger envelope for the return of the documents will not be prepaid if you have asked for the postal vote to be sent to an address outside the UK.
Getting your vote in on time
Due to the election timetable and printing deadlines, it is not normally possible to send out postal votes to UK addresses any earlier than about ten working days in advance of an election being held, although it may be possible to send postal votes to overseas destinations earlier than this. This should allow sufficient time to complete the ballot paper and return it by post to our office before 10pm on election day. Postal votes can also be returned by hand to the Council Offices, Sleaford or to a polling station within the appropriate electoral area, again before the close of poll at 10pm on election day.
Anyone shown as a postal voter for a particular election will not be allowed to vote in person at a polling station, even if their postal vote has not arrived. Replacements for lost or spoilt postal voting papers can be issued from 5 working days before an election up until 5pm on election day. In these circumstances, voters will be asked to produce proof of identity and may need to collect any replacement from the Council Offices in Sleaford. For more information please contact Electoral Services.
Phone: 01529 308352