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

Where can postal votes be returned by hand?

Postal votes can be returned by hand to a polling station or to the Returning Officer at for example, council offices in the constituency.

For elections on or after 2 May 2024, there will be limits to the number of postal votes that can be handed in and restrictions on who the individual handing in the limited number of postal votes can be for each poll taking place. This will apply in both polling stations and council offices.

Postal votes returned to polling stations

You should emphasise to polling station staff, including polling station inspectors, the importance of maintaining at all times the security of postal votes handed in to polling stations on polling day.

To help to minimise the likelihood of receiving large quantities of postal votes at the count and help reduce the risk of delays to the start time of the count, you should arrange to collect postal votes from polling stations at various points throughout polling day.

What is the procedure for receiving postal votes handed in at the polling station?

The normal procedure to follow for postal votes being handed in is set out in the Commission’s polling station handbook.  Further guidance on dealing with postal votes returned to polling stations, dealing with queries arising from handing in postal votes, and the situations where postal votes handed in at polling stations have to be rejected can also be found in the polling station handbook.

You should supply polling station staff with sufficient packets for postal votes returned to the polling station. These packets should be clearly labelled as containing postal votes and include the name of the polling station and polling station identifier. 
 

Polling station handbook – UK Parliamentary election is currently being updated to and will be made available shortly.
 

Postal votes returned by hand to council offices

Information about the procedure to be followed for postal votes handed in at council offices is set out in our guidance on managing receipt of postal votes handed in at council offices

Last updated: 20 February 2024