Proxy voting

Proxy voting

Proxy voting is when you get someone else to vote on your behalf if you can't get to your polling station on polling day.

A proxy can either vote on your behalf at your polling station in Bristol or by post.  If they want to vote by post they’ll have to have a postal proxy. 

Who can apply for a proxy vote

To apply for a proxy vote, both you and your proxy must be registered to vote.

Your proxy can't vote on behalf of more than two people unless they're close relatives.

Apply for a proxy vote

May's local and mayoral elections in England have been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

You can apply to vote by proxy for one election, a specific period, or permanently.

Each person requiring a proxy vote must fill in a form.

To apply for a proxy vote you'll need to complete a proxy application form  (pdf, 369KB) (opens new window) .

If you're applying to vote by proxy for one election you must only complete section 1.

If you're applying to vote by proxy long term you must complete both sections of the form and provide a signature from someone qualified to support your application

You can apply for a proxy vote long term if you can’t get to the polling station because:

  • you’re away for a particular election, for example you’re on holiday
  • of a physical condition
  • of your job
  • you’re attending an education course
  • you’re a British citizen living overseas (Parliamentary and European Parliamentary elections only)
  • you’re a Crown servant, British Council employee or a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces

Return completed form by scanning or taking a picture of it then filling in our online form:

Apply for a proxy vote

Or return it:

  • by post to Bristol City Council, Electoral Services, 5th Floor, B Bond, Smeaton Road, Bristol, BS1 6XN
  • in person to our Citizen Service Point at 100 Temple Street, Bristol BS1 6AG or B Bond, Smeaton Road, Bristol BS1 6XN

After you’ve applied

We'll confirm to you and your proxy that your proxy arrangement is in place, there may not be time to do this just before an election.

We’ll send a proxy poll card to the person you nominated with details of how to vote.

Your nominated person will have to go to your polling station to vote, not their polling station if that’s different, unless they apply to vote by post.

Change your proxy vote

To change your proxy vote for one election you’ll need to complete a new proxy vote application form (pdf, 369KB) (opens new window) .

Postal proxy

Your proxy can apply to cast your vote by post. This is known as a postal proxy.

You should first apply to vote by proxy and we’ll write to you to confirm this has been set up. 

Your proxy should then apply to vote by post using the postal proxy application form.

The deadline to receive a postal vote application form from your proxy is Tuesday 26 November by 5pm. 

Apply for a postal proxy using the postal proxy application form (pdf, 69KB) (opens new window) .

Emergency proxy

You can apply for an emergency proxy vote up to 5pm on polling day.

If after the proxy vote application deadline for an election you're unable to attend the polling station because of a work or medical emergency you can apply for an emergency proxy so that a nominated person can vote at your polling station on your behalf. 

A work emergency proxy application must be supported by:

  • a person aged 18 years or over who knows you and is not your spouse, civil partner, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child or grandchild.
  • your employer or another authorised person at your workplace.

If you're a member of the Armed Forces, a Crown servant, a British Council employee or the spouse or civil partner of one of the above and you’re registered as a service voter, you don’t need support for your application.

If you’re registered as an ordinary elector, you’ll need support from your employer or another authorised person at your workplace

A medical emergency proxy application must be supported by:

  • a registered medical practitioner, including a dentist, optician, pharmacist, osteopath, chiropractor and psychologist
  • a registered nurse
  • a registered health professional

How to apply for an emergency proxy

Forms must be received by 5pm on polling day.

Download and fill in an application form.

Return completed forms:

  • scan and email to Please put the words 'Emergency Proxy' in the subject.
  • by post to: Bristol City Council, Electoral Services, 5th Floor, B Bond, Smeaton Road, Bristol, BS1 6XN

Absent vote signature renewal

If you have a proxy 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 proxy in the future.

You'll then have to complete a new application form if you wish to vote by proxy.

Privacy Notice

Read our privacy statement and our Electoral Services privacy notice (pdf, 71KB) (opens new window) to see what we do with your personal information.