Elections Act 2022

Changes to absent votes (postal and proxies)

Changes to applications

As of 31 October 2023, you will need to supply your national insurance number on postal vote and proxy vote applications as well as your signature and date of birth. All application forms we send out will be changed to reflect this. 

If you have an old version of the application form that you have not returned to us, you will either need to return it and ensure it reaches us before 31 October or write your national insurance number onto the application. Any applications we receive after 31 October without a national insurance number, we will need to contact you in order to obtain before your application can be processed.

Apply online via a new gov.uk service

From 31 October 2023, you will also be able to apply for an absent vote online. You can apply for a:

During the application, you will be told when you need to hand write your signature and take a photograph for it to be uploaded into your application. This will then come through to the Elections Office for us to process for you.

Online applications will still need to need to contain your national insurance number.

If you are an anonymous elector, you will not be able to apply online and will need to apply via a paper form.

Changes to handling of postal votes

From May 2024 onwards, though returning postal vote packs by a Royal Mail post box will continue as normal, those who choose to hand their postal vote packs in at a polling station or at the offices of Castle House will only be able to hand in a total of 6 (your own and up to 5 others). You will also be asked to fill in a form when handing postal votes in at a polling station or our offices. Based on new legislation, any postal vote packs handed into a polling station or the offices of Castle House by someone who does not complete a form will be rejected and not included in the vote.

Political parties and campaigners will be banned from handling postal vote packs entirely.

Changes for those acting as a proxy

You will only be able to act as a proxy for up to 4 people overall. Of these 4, the maximum number who can be 'domestic electors' (voters living in the UK) is 2. To be allowed to act as a proxy voter for the other 2, they must be registered as overseas voters.

Changes to postal vote signature refresh

As of January 2024, signature refresh (where you have to update your signature with us every 5 years) will no longer apply. Instead, you will be required to re-apply for a postal vote every 3 years. This is to ensure we have an up-to-date signature as this is used to verify your vote at election time. We will contact you when this is required.