Proxy voting

What is a proxy?

A ‘proxy’ is someone an elector appoints to vote on their behalf at an election, so this should be someone whom you trust to cast your vote (ie mark a ballot paper) for you. They would need to attend your normal polling station to vote for you, unless they apply to vote by post on your behalf.  You must be registered to apply to vote by proxy. 

If your proxy votes on your behalf at a polling station they will need to take their own 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 if you are registered as an overseas elector, service voter or have a reason relating to your employment, attendance on an educational course or disability which means you cannot vote in person. Reasons relating to your spouse/civil partner’s education or employment may also be covered. The appropriate application forms 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 guidance on the form, unless you are registered as an overseas elector, service voter, are registered blind or in receipt of certain benefits because of a disability.
  • Temporary proxy voting - Temporary proxy voting for one election is available to any registered elector for any reason and the application does not need to be supported by anyone. From 31 October 2023 these applications can be made online at www.gov.uk/apply-proxy-vote. If you cannot apply online 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

From 31 October anyone applying for a proxy 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 proxy vote application can be approved.

Also from 31 October 2023 overseas electors, service voters and anyone applying for a proxy vote for one election only, will be able to make an application to vote by proxy online at www.gov.uk/apply-proxy-vote. 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.

All other proxy applications will still need to made via a paper application form. If you cannot apply online proxy vote application forms are available to download from the Electoral Commission Apply to vote by proxy page 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 elections@n-kesteven.gov.uk

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 an application to reach us, particularly if you are returning a paper form by post. We would recommend making the application online where possible.

Who can be a proxy?

A proxy must be at least 18 years old and not disqualified to vote in their own right. They must be registered themselves and eligible to vote in the elections for which you wish to appoint them.  If you and/or the person you wish to appoint as your proxy are not yet registered, you can now apply to register online. You can check if you are registered by calling 01529 414155 and your proxy can check by phoning their relevant Council. 

No one may be appointed to act as a proxy for more than four people in an electoral area, of which no more than two can be domestic electors (ie those who neither overseas electors or service voters).

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 will not be able to attend your normal polling station to vote in person, they can apply to vote by post on your behalf. 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, not 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 will need to ensure the pack is sent back so that it arrives by 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 accompanying instructions and on the Postal Voting Statement they will need to provide their date of birth and signature (as they did on the original postal proxy 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, or a reason related to the photo ID you were planning to use at the polling station, which have occurred after the normal proxy deadline has passed for an election. 
You would need to submit a completed application form (which can be emailed to elections@n-kesteven.gov.uk) and the form would also needed to be signed by a medical professional/employer, unless it is for a Voter ID reason - download the Emergency Proxy Voting form. Please contact Electoral Services for more information.

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