How postal voting works
Postal voting is available on request to any registered elector. To set up a postal vote the elector will need to complete a postal vote application form. A postal vote can be sent to the voter’s home address or to an address where he/she will be at the time of an election. However, for security reasons, electors must give a reason on their application form if they ask for their postal votes to be sent to another address.
A postal vote can be set up on a permanent basis, temporarily for a specific election or for a specified period (e.g. while a student is away at university). If you have a postal vote and move house you will need to re-register to change your address on the electoral register and then complete a new application to vote by post for the new address.
Apply to vote by post
Postal vote application forms are available to download from the 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 ‘wet ink’ signature, it can be returned in paper form, or as an email attachment.
If you are submitting an application to vote by post at a particular election, ensure you allow sufficient time for any postal 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 email@example.com.
If you are not yet individually registered, you can now apply to vote online.
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 form and the ballot paper (sealed in the smaller envelope) in the larger prepaid envelope that will also be provided.
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 return it to the relevant election office in the UK so that it arrives 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 at the polling station in the UK 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.
Please note that once you have been sent a postal ballot paper you will not be able to vote in person.
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 the UK 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 give the elector ample opportunity to fill out the ballot paper and return it by post to our office before the close of poll 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, Sleaford. For more information please contact Electoral Services.