If you're unable to get to your local polling station on the day of an election you can vote by post.
Anyone who is registered to vote can apply for a postal vote, so long as you're aged 18 or over.
Apply for a postal vote
May's local and mayoral elections in England have been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
You'll need to complete the postal vote application form (pdf, 96KB) (opens new window) .
By law you must physically sign a postal vote application, you can’t sign it electronically.
When it's signed, you can either return completed form by scanning or taking a picture of it then filling in our online form:
Or post it to:
5th Floor, B Bond Warehouse
Each person requiring a postal vote must fill in a form.
You can apply for a postal vote:
- for one election
- for a set period of time
- permanently, until you tell us otherwise.
The signature you give on your application form must match the one you use when you vote by post, so it’s important you sign the same way each time.
If you can't provide a signature
If you can’t sign the application form, or can’t sign in the same way every time, you can apply for a ‘waiver’ using our postal vote waiver application form. (pdf, 33 KB) (pdf, 34KB) (opens new window) .
If you live abroad
If you live abroad you can appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf, as there may not be enough time for postal votes to reach you and be sent back before the poll closes.
Your proxy must either apply for a postal vote or be able to vote at your usual polling station.
If you believe that there will be enough time for your postal vote to reach you and be returned to us in time to be counted, you’ll need to complete the Overseas Postal Vote Application form (pdf, 113KB) (opens new window) .
After you've applied
We'll confirm that your postal vote application has been successful, there may not always be enough time to do this just before an election.
We’ll send your postal voting papers around two weeks before the election.
How to cancel your postal vote
If you want to cancel your postal vote we must receive a request in writing, stating:
- your name
- your address
- you want to cancel your postal vote
Email email@example.com if you wish to cancel your postal vote.
If you want to cancel your postal vote close to the time of an election there will be a deadline for when we must receive this request. More details will be available on the web page for the election.
How to vote by post
You can post your postal vote using the envelope provided or hand it in at your polling station on election day. You must hand it in at the polling station you usually vote at. Your postal vote must reach us by 10pm on election day.
Absent vote signature renewal
If you have a postal vote, by law you must renew your signature every five years. If your signature needs to be renewed in 2020 we'll write to you in February 2020 with a form. You should complete the form and return it in the pre-paid envelope provided.
If you don’t complete and return this form you'll lose your ability to vote by post.
You'll then have to complete a new application form if you wish to vote by post in the future.
Read our privacy statement and our Electoral Services privacy notice (pdf, 71KB) (opens new window) to see what we do with your personal information.