How to vote

From Thursday 4 May 2023 all electors are required to show photo ID when voting in person in the polling station at the following elections/polls:

  • UK Parliament by-elections
  • local elections in England (including councils, mayors, the Greater London Authority, and parishes)
  • recall of MP petitions in England, Scotland, and Wales
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales
  • neighbourhood planning referendums and Business Improvement District referendums in England.
  • Local authority referendums in England (including Council Tax increase referendums).

Find out more on the GOV UK how to vote page.

Voter Authority Certificate

If you do not have any of the acceptable forms of photographic ID you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.

You can also download an application if you live in the United Kingdom or abroad.

You must register before you can vote in UK elections or referendums.

There are three different ways you can vote:

Voting in person

If you are registered to vote, you will receive a poll card/letter confirming the name and address of your polling station.

You cannot vote at another polling station and must vote at the polling station detailed on the card. Polling hours for all elections and referendums are from 7am to 10pm.

The poll card shows when, where and how to vote with a map showing the location of your polling station.

The poll card is for information only, but it will save you time if you take it to the polling station and show it to the election staff. If you lose your poll card or forget to bring it to the polling station – you can still vote without it.

Provided you are registered, you will be asked for your photographic identification (Voter ID).

The poll clerk will ask you for your name and address which will be checked against the electoral register and provided everything is correct you will be issued with a ballot paper(s), and you then go to the booth to cast your vote.

You can also search online to find where your polling place is by entering your address/postcode into our polling station finder.


Voting by post

If you are unable to vote in person you can apply to vote by post. 

You can ask for a postal vote form anytime. Remember, there's a deadline - 11 days before the election.

Anyone can apply for a postal vote as long as they have registered to vote.

You must complete an application through the secure government postal vote portal.

You must provide your signature as part of the application. This must be your normal signature and not one that has been digitally produced and your date of birth.

You can also request an application form by calling the Electoral Services Office on 020 7364 0872 or email

You can also download a from the Electoral Commission website.

Paper applications can be sent to the office by post or by email although applying online is better due to tight election schedules.

Lost or spoilt postal ballot papers

If you do not receive your postal pack or have lost or spoilt your ballot paper or postal voting statement, please contact the Electoral Services Office who will determine if you are entitled to receive a new replacement pack.

To receive a new pack, you need to come into the Town Hall in person with two forms of identification e.g., your photo ID (passport or driver’s licence) and proof of residence. This could be a utility bill or document with your address on it.

Receiving replacement postal packs is subject to strict deadlines so it is advised that you call the office first on 020 7364 0872.

Voting by proxy

When you vote by proxy, someone can vote on your behalf in certain circumstances.

You may appoint someone to vote on your behalf if you are unable to go to the polling station for a particular election. For example, if:

  • you are away on holiday
  • you have a physical condition that means you cannot go to the polling station on election day
  • your employment or educational circumstances means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day
  • you are a British citizen living overseas, a crown servant or a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces.
  • You are registered as an anonymous elector.

Your proxy must be eligible to vote, and they can vote for a maximum of four people. No more than two of those people can be domestic electors. Domestic electors are voters who are neither overseas voters nor service voters.

Your proxy can vote on your behalf in two ways:

  • by going to your polling station
  • by voting by post (known as postal proxy)

If you appoint a proxy, you may still vote in person, if your proxy hasn't already voted for you.

You cannot vote in person if your proxy has already arranged to vote for you by post.

If you want to vote by proxy at a particular election or referendum further information is available on the Electoral Commissions website.

Postal proxy vote

Should your proxy wish to vote by post they can also apply to vote by post in the same manner as detailed above and we recommend that applications are made through the secure government portal.

A postal vote will not be setup automatically if your chosen proxy

  • lives outside the borough
  • can't make it to Tower Hamlets on election day to vote on your behalf

It is very important that your proxy is aware that if they don’t apply to vote by post they must attend your polling place on polling day.

Emergency proxy vote

In some cases, if you have a sudden emergency preventing you from voting, you can request an emergency proxy.

You can apply to vote by emergency proxy if after 5pm, six working days before an election you have,

This form can also be used if your Anonymous Elector's document is lost, stolen, destroyed or damaged.

Quick links