Guidance for (Acting) Returning Officers administering a UK Parliamentary election in Great Britain

Preparing a record of those postal votes that have failed the identifier checks

After an election, EROs are required to notify postal voters if their postal vote has been rejected as a result of failing the personal identifier checks and to inform them of the specific reason for the rejection. You must keep a record of the categories under which you are rejecting individual postal voting statements to enable this.

Every rejected postal voting statement must be accounted for. You must keep a list of those postal votes that have failed the personal identifier checks.

The list must contain, for each such rejected postal vote:1

  • the elector’s name and address (and the name and address of the proxy if the elector has a proxy)
  • the elector’s number on the register of electors (and that of the proxy if the elector has a proxy)
  • the specified reason(s) for the rejection of the postal voting statement, and
  • any other information relating to the rejection that you consider appropriate, but not the ballot paper number(s)

The specified reasons for rejection of a postal voting statement are that: 

  • the signature does not match the example held on the personal identifiers record
  • the date of birth does not match the one held on the personal identifiers record
  • the signature field is blank
  • the date of birth field is blank

Where a postal voter appears on the list of postal votes that have failed the personal identifier checks, the ERO is required to notify the postal voter of the rejection within three months of the date of the poll.

Cross-boundary constituencies

If, as (A)RO, you are responsible for a constituency that crosses local authority boundaries you must forward the relevant parts of this list to the ERO(s) at the other local authority/authorities. This must be done at the same time as you forward all other relevant election documents to the ERO(s).

Preparing a record of those postal votes that have failed the identifier checks

The ERO’s requirement to send a notification is suspended if you suspect that an offence may have been committed in relation to a particular postal vote.2

You should therefore keep a record of any instances where you suspect an offence may have been committed and forward it to the ERO so that they know in which cases they should not send out a postal vote identifier rejection notice. This should be done at the same time as you forward all other election documents to the ERO.

Where fraud is suspected, you should package the contents of the postal ballot pack separately and inform your local police Single Point of Contact (SPOC). You should handle the postal ballot pack as little as possible and, where you can, make a note of each person who has handled the postal ballot pack.

For further information, see our Guidance for EROs on issuing postal vote identifier rejection notices.

Last updated: 20 February 2024