Proxy voting

What is a proxy?

A ‘proxy’ is someone who is appointed by you to vote on your behalf at an election, so to vote by proxy you must first find someone whom you trust to cast your vote (ie mark a ballot paper) on your behalf. They would need to attend your normal polling station to cast the vote unless they apply to vote by post on your behalf.  Only electors who are registered are entitled to apply to vote by proxy. If your proxy votes on your behalf at a polling station they will need to take photographic identification with them in order to do so. Please see the voter ID page for more information.

There are two types of proxy voting:

  • Permanent proxy voting - Permanent proxy voting is only available to registered electors on the grounds of health, employment or full time education commitments, or where they are registered as overseas electors or service voters. The appropriate application form can be downloaded from the Electoral Commission or posted out on request from Electoral Services (contact details can be seen at the bottom of this page). This form will need to be supported by a suitably qualified person, in accordance with the notes printed on the form, unless you are registered as an overseas elector or service voter, are registered blind or in receipt of certain benefits because of a disability.
  • Temporary proxy voting - Temporary proxy voting is available to any registered elector for any reason. Applications are made for a specific election and do not need to be supported by anyone. The appropriate application form can be downloaded from the Electoral Commission or posted out on request from Electoral Services (contact details can be seen at the bottom of this page).

How to apply

You can find more information about applying to vote by proxy online.  You can also contact Electoral Services for further advice (contact details can be seen at the bottom of this page).

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote will depend on the election deadlines for each specific election. 

If you are submitting an application to vote by proxy at a particular election, ensure you allow sufficient time for any proxy vote application forms to reach us, particularly if you are posting your forms. For postal and proxy forms, you can also scan them and return as an email attachment to

Who can be a proxy?

A proxy must be at least 18 years old and not disqualified to vote in his or her own right. For a General Election, the proxy must be a British, Commonwealth or Irish citizen. For Local Elections, he or she may also be a citizen of the European Union.  The person you wish to appoint as your proxy can only act as proxy if they are registered themselves. If you and/or the person you wish to appoint as your proxy are not yet registered, you can now apply to register online.

No one may act as a proxy for more than two people at the same election, unless he or she is the spouse, civil partner, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child or grandchild of the voter.

If you appoint a proxy and then have a change of plans, you may still vote in person at your polling station - providing you do so before the proxy has voted on your behalf!

Postal proxy voting

If your proxy cannot attend your polling station in person for any reason on the day of the election, they can apply in advance to vote by post. Once you (the elector) has submitted an application to appoint a proxy, the nominated proxy can then complete an application to vote by postal proxy, which can be requested from Electoral Services. Please note that this form is not available to download online. Both the proxy application form (completed by the elector) and the postal proxy form (completed by the nominated proxy) would need to be submitted by the postal voting deadline at an election time, which will be at least a week earlier than the proxy voting deadline. 

If you have a postal proxy in place, your proxy will be sent postal voting papers for any elections at which you are eligible to vote. Postal votes are usually sent out about ten days before election day and your proxy needs to make sure it is sent back so that it arrives by close of poll (which is 10pm on election day). If it arrives later than this your vote won’t be counted.

The proxy will need to complete the postal vote as per the instructions accompanying it, and on the Postal Voting Statement they will need to provide their date of birth and signature (as they did on the original application form). Once completed, they should post it as soon as possible to allow plenty of time for it to reach us.

Please note that if your proxy has been allocated a postal proxy neither you nor they will be able to vote at the polling station, even if your proxy has not yet voted. If you require any further information please contact Electoral Services. 

Emergency proxy voting

In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply for an emergency proxy up to 5pm on an election day. This is only where you have a medical or work related emergency which means you cannot go to the polling station in person, which has occurred after the normal proxy deadline has passed for an election. You will need to submit a completed application form (which can be emailed to and the form will also needed to be signed by a medical professional/employer - download the Emergency Proxy Voting form. Please contact Electoral Services for more information.

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Electoral Services