How to vote

Voter Authority Certificate 

From 4 May 2023 you’ll need to show photo ID when voting in person in:

  • 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. 

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 confirming the name and address of your polling station. You cannot vote at another polling station. Polling hours for all elections and referendums are from 7am to 10pm.

Poll card

Every registered elector will receive an official poll card. The poll card shows when, where and how to vote. For electors voting in person, the poll card will also include 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, simply give the poll clerk your name and address.

Find your polling station

Enter your address/postcode into our polling station finder to find out where to vote.

Voting by post 


If you are unable to vote in person you can apply for a postal vote. You can request a postal application form at any time of the year. The deadline for the receipt of postal vote application form is 11 working days before the day of an election.

Anyone can have a postal vote as long as they are registered to vote. To have a postal vote you must complete a postal vote application form, providing your signature and date of birth. You can request an application form by calling the Electoral Services Office or by placing a tick in the box in the absent vote column on your voter registration form.

Download a postal application form.

Lost or spoilt postal ballot papers

If you did not receive your postal pack, have lost or spoilt your ballot paper or postal voting statement, please contact the Electoral Services Office. The elector will need to come in person to the Electoral Services Office with two forms of identification – photo ID (passport or driver’s licence) and proof of residence (e.g utility bill).

Voting by proxy

Proxy voting enables you to appoint a person to vote on your behalf. If you want to vote by proxy, contact us as soon as possible for an application form.

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 circumstance means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day,
  • you are a British citizen living overseas or you are a crown servant or a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces. 

Your proxy must be eligible to vote and they cannot vote on behalf of more than two people unless they are closely related to them. Your proxy can vote on your behalf in two ways: by going to your polling station or by voting by post (known as postal proxy).

If you appoint a proxy, you may still vote in person, as long as 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.

Download a Proxy application form 

Postal proxy vote

Should your Proxy wish to vote by post, please contact the Electoral Services Office for a postal proxy application form.

Emergency proxy vote

You can apply to vote by emergency proxy if after 5pm six working days before an election you have a personal medical emergency or learn you cannot go to the polling station because of work emergency.

For an application due to physically incapacitated, the form must be supported by a registered medical practitioner or a registered nurse. If you are in a residential home or sheltered housing, the matron, home care director or warden may support your application.

For an application due to occupation, service or employment emergency, the attestation must be made by the employer (or delegate) or for self-employed people, by an adult who knows them but is not related to the elector.

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