What is mobile voting?

Mobile voting would give people the ability to vote securely in person at a transportable polling station. Election officials would make pre-arranged visits to institutions, such as care homes, or other locations so voters wouldn’t need to travel to their local polling station.

Potential benefitsPotential challenges
Making voting more accessible for voters with healthcare or other mobility challengesMaintaining the secrecy of the ballot
Making voting more accessible for some voters who may struggle with aspects of postal voting - for example, the signature and date of birth requirementsEnsuring high levels of trust and transparency in the operation of the system
Making it easier for staff at institutions to provide advice or assistance to residents who wish to vote in polling stations or by postEnsuring that electoral registers are updated in time for polling day 
People who are unwell wouldn’t need to travel to their allocated polling stationImpact on the timing of election campaigning and coordination of public awareness activity
Enhancing voters’ dignity and self-esteem by being able to vote in person, independently and in secretAdditional resources to manage the mobile voting process, including working proactively with local institutions and having enough people to operate the mobile voting service
Targeting specific groups would mean a more efficient use of resources  

International experience

Data on 204 countries collected by International IDEA suggests that 31% of countries provide mobile ballot boxes to some electors. No country offers this service to all voters.

International IDEA also found that, as at October 2020, 29 countries in Europe provided opportunities for mobile voting. The three most common forms of mobile voting were:

  • Election officials associated with a voter’s polling station making prearranged visits to people’s homes and to hospitals in the area to allow residents to vote.
  • Provisions on polling day allowing election staff to bring voting materials to voters outside of the voting centre but unable to enter the residence (kerbside voting).
  • Staff making visits to remote locations where the population is too scattered for normal polling stations to be effective.

Basic model

We looked at how mobile voting could work at a basic level for elections in the UK. We have set out the main features of a model that we think would be needed if a government within the UK decided to implement mobile voting. 

Further options

We also looked at some other options that could be added to the basic model.


  • The option for mobile voting could be extended to other people – for example, housebound people, hospital inpatients, eligible prisoners, users of mental health facilities, homeless people, and people living in remote areas or in particular groups, such as Gypsy and Traveller communities.
  • The model includes the challenge of ensuring that voters are registered to vote in the relevant electoral area. Extending the eligibility criteria to other groups would extend this challenge. 
  • Widening the eligibility criteria would likely stretch limited resources, while placing pressure on Returning Officers to provide this service to a wide range of groups, and possibly individuals living at home, which may not be feasible.


  • Mobile voting could be extended beyond institutions such as care homes. Different locations could be chosen following consultation by the Returning Officer with relevant institutions and community groups. There may be issues in securing mobile voting staff access to certain institutions.
  • Certain restrictions could be placed around the choice of locations – for example, mobile voting stations could be established in premises in which there was a minimum number of voters registered.

Days and hours of operation

  • The number of days and hours of operation might vary. This could depend on the level of demand, how many places have requested a mobile voting facility and the geography of the electoral area.
  • Any extension of the mobile voting period would need to work within the constraints of the electoral timetable. In theory, mobile voting could begin as soon as practicable following close of nominations and the production of ballot papers.

Find more information about what would be needed to deliver mobile voting