The Electoral Commission

The independent body which oversees elections and regulates political finance in the UK

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Observing elections and referendums

One of our roles is to authorise people and organisations to observe UK elections and relevant referendums.

You need to apply to become an accredited electoral observer if you want to observe the:

  • issue or receipt of postal ballot papers
  • taking of the poll
  • counting of the votes

You can apply as an individual observer, or as an organisation.

You need to be 16 or over to be an electoral observer.

Before you apply

Before you apply to be an electoral observer, you need to read:

When you complete your application, you will need to confirm that you have read and and understood all of these documents.

Apply to be an individual accredited observer

To apply as an individual, you will need:
  • your name, address and contact details
  • to tell us how long you want your accreditation to last for, and where you want your badge to be delivered
  • to upload a passport style photo and your identification
Your photo needs to:
  • just include you
  • be a headshot, so that it includes your face and shoulders
  • clearly show your face, with your eyes open
  • be taken against a plain background
Your identification needs to show your name and age. You can upload a copy of your:
  • passport
  • driving licence
  • national identity card
  • Northern Ireland electoral identity card

700KB is the maximum file size for the photo and ID. Anything above this cannot be processed.

You can contact us if you do not have this form of identification.


Apply now


If you need help with your application, or would prefer to complete a paper form, you can contact us by email on observers@electoralcommission.org.uk or call 0333 103 1928.

Apply to be an accredited organisation

To apply to accredit your organisation, you will need:
  • information about your organisation
  • your name and contact details, as the primary organisation contact
  • the name and contact details of the secondary organisation contact
  • to tell us how long you want your accreditation to last for, and where you want your badges to be delivered
  • the names of the people who will be observing for your organisation, as well as a passport style photo and identification
The photo needs to:
  • just include the observer
  • be a headshot, so that it includes their face and shoulders
  • clearly show their face, with their eyes open
  • be taken against a plain background
The identification needs to show the observer's name and age. You can upload their:
  • passport
  • driving licence
  • national identity card
  • Northern Ireland electoral identity card

700KB is the maximum file size for all of the photos and ID. Anything above this cannot be processed.

You can contact us if any of the observers do not have this form of identification.


Apply now


If you need help with your application, or would prefer to complete a paper form, you can contact us by email on observers@electoralcommission.org.uk or call 0333 103 1928.

Code of Practice

The Code of Practice for accredited electoral observers includes information about:

  • becoming an electoral observer
  • the standards expected of observers
  • facilitating electoral observers

If you become an accredited electoral observer, you will need to meet the standards set out in the code. This includes:

  • respecting the laws of the United Kingdom and the authority of electoral bodies
  • maintaining strict political impartiality at all times
  • abiding by the requirements of secrecy
  • not obstructing electoral processes
  • providing appropriate identification (your accredited observer badge)
  • maintaining proper personal behaviour

Guidance and feedback for observing elections

European Parliamentary elections on 23 May 2019

If you are planning to observe the European Parliamentary elections on 23 May, you can download our guidance for:

You can also give us feedback after you have observed the European Parliamentary election. You can:

Local elections on 2 May 2019

You can give us feedback if you observed the local elections that took place in England and Northern Ireland on 2 May. You can:

Elections and referendums