If you can't vote in person, one option is to cast your vote by post.
Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you are unable to get to the polling station.
You need to register to vote before you can cast your vote by post.
Apply to vote by post
To apply to vote by post in England, Scotland or Wales, you should download and complete this form:
After completing the form, you'll need to print it, sign it, and send it back to your local authority.
Voters in Northern Ireland can apply for a postal vote if they are unable to make it to their polling station in person on polling day.
When applying for a postal vote in Northern Ireland, you must provide a valid reason as to why you cannot attend. This could be because of illness, disability, holiday or work arrangements.
In certain circumstances you can apply for an indefinite postal or proxy vote.
An absent vote form is available from the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland
When you will receive your ballot paper
Postal ballots can only be sent out once the deadline to become a candidate has passed and the ballot papers have subsequently been produced and printed.
You can contact the elections team at your local council to find out when your postal ballot papers will be issued.
Returning your ballot paper
Once you've got it, mark your vote on the ballot paper and make sure you send it back so that it arrives by 10pm on election day. If it arrives later than this, your vote won't be counted.
You can hand your postal ballot in at your local council on the day if you’re not able to send it back by post in advance.
How to vote by post
1. When you get your postal voting papers
- put them somewhere safe
- don't let anyone else handle them
- make sure they are not left where someone else can pick them up
2. When you want to vote
- complete your ballot paper in secret, on your own
- don't let anyone else vote for you
- don't let anyone else see your vote
- don't give the ballot paper to anyone else
- put the ballot paper in the envelope and seal it up yourself
- complete and sign the postal voting statement
- put the postal voting statement and the envelope containing your ballot paper into the larger supplied envelope and seal it.
3. When you return your postal vote
- take it to the post box yourself, if you can
- if you can't do that, either give it to somebody you know and trust to post it for you, or call your local elections team, to ask if they can collect it from you
- don't hand it to a candidate or party worker unless no other way is practical
- don't leave it where someone else can pick it up
Remember that this is your vote – so keep it for yourself
If anyone tries to help you against your will, or force you to give them your postal vote, you should contact the police.
If you have any other queries, call your local elections team.
Frequently asked questions
You can apply for just one election or referendum, for a specific time period, or for a permanent postal vote.
The Returning Officer (who is the person responsible for conducting the poll) issues postal votes, so you should contact the elections office at your local authority.
As a guide, they cannot be issued until all candidates are nominated (the deadline for this is usually 4pm 19 working days before the poll). Ballot papers then need to be printed and postal ballot packs produced. This means that in practice postal votes may not be issued until much closer to polling day.
To find out when your postal ballot papers will arrive contact your local elections office at your local authority.
All postal and proxy voters are required to give their date of birth and signature when applying for a postal or proxy vote.
When you return your postal voting pack, your signature and date of birth are checked against those on your application to confirm your identity.
Your signature and date of birth are separated from your ballot paper before it is looked at or counted, so giving this information will not affect the secrecy of your vote.
For those who are unable to sign their form, or are unable to sign it in a consistent way, special provision can be made. For more information please contact your local Electoral Registration Officer.
You can get a replacement ballot paper in person from your Returning Officer up until 5pm on polling day.
To cancel your postal vote you need to contact your local electoral registration office.
You will need to include the address where you were last registered to vote in the UK.
There is a section on the form for your correspondence address – you can include your overseas address in this section.
Yes. If you change address, you will need to make a new application to vote by post or by proxy – your voting preference will not be carried forward to your new address.