Absent voting allows you to vote in an election if you are unable to vote in person at the polling station on the day. For example, you might be on holiday or at work, or you might have a medical condition or disability which makes it difficult to attend the polling station.
There are two types of absent voting:
Postal Voting – Once a completed application has been submitted, a postal pack, which will include your ballot paper will be sent to you by post. You will be asked to complete your postal pack and return it in time to be included in the counting of votes.
Proxy Voting – If an election is called and you are either:
- Unable to vote in person at your polling station
- Registered as an overseas elector
- Registered as a service voter
you can apply online to appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf. Once appointed they will vote at the polling station at which you would normally vote at.
If you require a permanent or long term proxy vote, you will need to submit a paper application. Further information can be found here.
Changes you will see:
You will have the option to apply for a postal and some proxy votes via a new central government online system
You will need to provide your national insurance number when applying for an absent vote, whether this is an online application or paper application.
- Postal voters must reapply to vote by post every 3 years.
- Political parties and campaigners will be banned from handling postal vote packs.
- There will be a limit on the number of postal vote packs that a person can hand in at a polling station. When handing in postal votes, you will be asked to complete and sign a form with your details.
- You will only be able to act as a proxy for up to 2 people living in the UK (or a maximum of 4 people, with 2 people living in the UK and 2 people registered as living overseas).