Voting by post

If you can't vote in person, one option is to cast your vote by post. Here you can find out more about voting by post, including how to apply.

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.


Applying to vote by post

In England, Scotland and Wales, only electors who are (or will be) registered to vote can vote by post.

Once you are registered you need to complete a postal vote application form.

Download the form to apply to vote by post (PDF)

After completing the form, you'll need to print it, sign it, and send it back to your local electoral registration office.

In Northern Ireland, the rules are different. You need to provide a valid reason why you want to vote by post.

Find out more from the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland


Who can apply for a postal vote?

Anyone who is registered to vote can apply for a postal vote.


Where can I get my postal vote sent?

A postal vote can be sent to your home address or any other address that you provide.

Postal votes can be sent overseas, but you need to consider whether there will be enough time to receive and return your ballot paper so it arrives back by 10pm on polling day.


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 (link) to find out when your postal ballot papers will be issued.

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 the day of the election or referendum. If it arrives later than this, your vote won't be counted.


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 electoral registration office, 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 electoral registration office.