On this page you can find out how to cast your vote by post at an election or referendum in the UK.
Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you are unable to get to the polling station.
Local elections are taking place on 2 May in England and Northern Ireland. The deadlines to apply for a postal vote in these elections have now passed.
Apply to vote by post
To apply to vote by post in England, Scotland or Wales, you should download and complete the form below:
After completing the form, you'll need to print it, sign it, and send it back to your local authority.
Voters in Northern Ireland can apply for a postal vote if they are unable to make it to their polling station in person on polling day. When applying for a postal vote in Northern Ireland, you must provide a valid reason as to why you cannot attend. This could be because of illness, disability, holiday or work arrangements. In certain circumstances you can apply for an indefinite postal or proxy vote. Application forms for an absent vote form are available from the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland
Find where to send your form
Enter your postcode to find the address for your local authority.
This is where you should send your postal vote application form.
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.
When do I need to return my postal vote by?
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 election day. If it arrives later than this, your vote won't be counted.
You can hand your postal ballot in at your local council on the day if you’re not able to send it back by post in advance.
How to vote by post
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 elections team, 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 elections team.
Do I need to apply again if I have changed address?
Yes. If you change address, you will need to make a new application to vote by post or by proxy – your voting preference will not be carried forward to your new address.