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How to vote

If you are registered to vote you will be sent a poll card before an election.

If you do not receive a poll card then please contact the Electoral Services Team.

Traditionally people will visit their local polling station to vote in person on the day of the election. You may, however, also vote by post or proxy.

Voting in person at a polling station

Your poll card tells you when the election will be held and where to go to cast your vote. It will make it easier to find you on the electoral register if you take the poll card with you to the polling station, but you can still vote without it.

At the polling station, the poll clerk or presiding officer should ask you for your name and address, once this is confirmed they will issue you with a folded ballot paper.

You should take the ballot paper to one of the voting booths and mark an "X" in the box on the right hand side of the paper against the name of the candidate(s) you wish to vote for. The maximum number of votes you can make is detailed at the top of the ballot paper, and will also be displayed on a notice in the polling booth.

If you make a mistake or spoil your paper you can take it back to the presiding officer and request they issue you with another.

When you are happy with your vote, fold the ballot paper and put it into the ballot box.

Assistance for disabled and visually impaired voters

There are a number of provisions in place for people with disabilities. These include a device called a 'selector', which enables blind or partially-sighted people to vote unaided. There are ramps allowing easier access to polling stations, and provision for voters who are unable to vote without assistance to be helped by a companion. Alternatively, a blind or partially-sighted voter can request assistance from the presiding officer on duty.

Emergency proxy vote

People in specific circumstances can still apply for an emergency proxy vote. This kind of proxy is not open in all personal circumstances, so read through the notes on the forms to check if you would be eligible. The forms require completion by other people apart from the applicant. Your proxy must be a registered voter themselves, eligible to vote at UK Parliamentary elections, they cannot be a European Union citizen, and they must live locally enough to vote in person at your assigned polling station.

Can I apply for an emergency proxy?

You can only apply for an emergency proxy for one of two reasons:

• Because you have been called away unexpectedly for work.

• A medical emergency. This emergency must relate to you - you can't get an emergency proxy due to a medical emergency involving a friend or relative.

In both cases, you must have become aware that you won't be able to vote in person after 5pm on Wednesday 31 May. This was the deadline to apply for an ordinary proxy vote.

How to apply

Applications are made using forms available on the Electoral Commission website.

· Emergency proxy for a medical emergency

· Emergency Proxy for Occupation, Service or Employment

Postal voting

You may pdf icon apply to vote by post [338kb] if you are not going to be around on polling day, or if you cannot get to the polling station for any other reason.

If you wish to apply for a postal vote, we must receive your postal vote application by 5pm on the eleventh working day before the election. If it is received after this time, you will not be able to vote by post for that particular election.

When your postal vote has been set up, you will not be able to vote at the polling station. You will receive a 'postal poll card' to inform you that you will receive a postal vote at the forthcoming election.

Postal ballot packs should be received approximately 10 days before an election. However, you may receive yours slightly earlier or later than this, depending on when you applied for your postal vote to be set up. This is an important consideration for people who need to vote from an overseas address, for whom a postal vote may not be the most suitable arrangement. You may wish to consider appointing a proxy instead, or contact the Electoral Services Team to discuss the best option for your situation.

Proxy vote

A proxy vote is when you give permission to someone else to cast a vote on your behalf. Some people can apply for a permanent proxy vote, for example those who have a permanent disability, or who are likely to be away from home regularly for work or educational reasons. If you are only temporarily unable to attend your polling station (e.g. you will be away on holiday or business, or attending a hospital appointment on election day) there is a specific form you can complete just for the next election - this may be shown as the 'holiday reason' option.

If you Apply to vote by proxy the deadline for applications is 5pm on the sixth working day before an election.

Applying for a postal or proxy vote

You can return your completed postal or proxy vote applications to us by:

All applications received will be acknowledged by the Electoral Services team. If you do not receive an acknowledgement, we have  not received your application.

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