Absent vote arrangements for overseas electors

An overseas elector’s postal voting arrangement is directly linked to their registration and will cease on the third 1 November, calculated from the original date of their addition to the register.

This table provides some worked examples:

Date of addition to the electoral registerDate of expiry of postal vote arrangement
Addition 1 March 20241 November 2026
Addition date before 1 October 20241 November 2026
Addition date before 1 October 20251 November 2027

There may be instances where an overseas elector renews their declaration and postal vote earlier in their renewal period than the 1 November deadline. 

Any postal vote arrangement for an overseas elector will expire when their electoral registration expires, regardless of the date the postal vote application was made. In these cases, the postal vote arrangement may be in effect for longer than the three-year maximum period because the postal vote arrangement is linked to the renewed declaration and will be in place until the expiry of the renewed declaration. This table provides some worked examples:

Date of renewal of overseas declarationDate of expiry of postal vote arrangement
1 September 2024 1 November 2027
1 October 20251 November 2028
31 October 20261 November 2029

For more information, see our guidance on managing the renewal of overseas elector registration.

Absent vote renewals made alongside an overseas elector’s declaration

Overseas electors will be able to reapply or refresh their absent vote arrangements at the same time as renewing their declaration.

You may choose to combine absent vote renewals with declaration renewals, though this is not mandatory as not all overseas electors will have an absent vote arrangement.

If, during the renewal period, a new postal vote application is received separately from a renewal declaration from an overseas elector and a poll is not imminent, you should check to see if the elector has made a renewal declaration. If they have not, you should contact the overseas elector to confirm whether they want to renew their declaration and to prompt them to complete their renewal if they do. If they confirm that they do intend to renew their declaration, you should wait to receive the renewal and process it in advance of the postal vote application, as otherwise their absent vote arrangement would only be valid until their existing overseas elector’s declaration expires.

If you cannot get confirmation from the elector, you should process the postal vote application without the renewal and clarify to the elector that it will only be applicable until the end of the declaration period (i.e., up to the 1 November). If a renewal declaration is subsequently received, the overseas elector would be required to reapply for their postal vote if they wish their arrangement to continue to be in place after that date.

If a poll is called whilst you are waiting for the elector to respond or an election is already imminent, you should process any postal vote application you have received without delay. When you confirm the postal vote application has been processed, you should explain why you have done so and that they will need to complete a fresh application if they wish their postal vote arrangement to continue after their existing declaration expires.

Diweddarwyd ddiwethaf: 13 Rhagfyr 2023