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

Post election data collection

Data collection and feedback at a general election

At scheduled elections we will request that you send information and data to us relating to the election.

Forms for collecting information and data, and accompanying guidance notes for completion, as well as a Commission feedback form, will be circulated separately and will also be available on our website. 

Statement as to postal ballot papers

You must complete a statement as to postal ballot papers for the constituency.1
This statement is vital for the accounting of postal votes and for ensuring that voters have confidence that their vote will be counted in the way they intended. 

The statement should form part of the arrangements that you have in place to maintain a clear audit trail of the postal voting and count processes. 

You should complete the statement accurately using the figures recorded at the issue, receipt, opening and verification of postal votes.

You can find further information on record-keeping during the postal voting process in our guidance on Keeping records of the receipt and opening of postal votes

Where to send the statement as to ballot papers

You must provide a copy of the statement to the Secretary of State and to the Electoral Commission. The statement must not be provided before the tenth calendar day after polling day but must arrive no later than the twenty-fifth calendar day after the polling day.

If either of these dates is not a working day, the time is extended to the next working day.  

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities are administering returns on behalf of the Secretary of State, and statements should be sent to using a subject title of ‘[authority name] – Form K1 return for the Secretary of State’.

The statement should be sent to the Commission using

Separately from the statutory statement as to postal ballots, the Commission collects data on postal voting through our online portal in a single data request alongside other relevant election data, e.g. turnout and rejected ballots. Details for how to provide this information to us will be provided in a Commission EA Bulletin.

You must also provide a copy of the completed statement at the same time and to the same person as you forward the other election documents listed in our guidance: Forwarding or retaining election documents

Voter Identification evaluation form (VIDEF)

You are required to collect data in polling stations relating to the operation of the new voter ID measures for the next two UK parliamentary general elections. 

We have produced a guidance note for ROs and EROS which outlines the legal requirements for the collation and sharing of data collected in polling stations in relation to the operation of the new voter ID requirements. Some of this data may only be shared with the UK Government and the Electoral Commission because of specific legislative restrictions, but some may be share more widely. This note aims to support ROs and EROs to make decisions on how and when to share data locally.

In England and Wales, the Electoral Registration Officer is responsible for forwarding the collated data from the VIDEF to the Secretary of State and to the Electoral Commission, if requested.2 More information is available in the guidance for EROs in England and Wales.

In Scotland, the Returning Officer is responsible for forward the collated data from the VIDEF to the Secretary of State and to the Electoral Commission, if requested. For more information see our guidance on the Public inspection of election documentation in Scotland.

Last updated: 20 February 2024