How to vote

Voting by proxy (someone voting on your behalf)

Voting by proxy means you appointing another person to cast your vote on your behalf. Proxies need appointing in advance of an election by completing a relevant application form. We cannot accept an application form without the elector’s signature.

There are various types of proxy appointment forms for different situations. Typically, proxy appointments are for a single election only. If a proxy is needed for longer than this, we may need further supporting evidence to put this in place.

Please note: the person you are appointing as your proxy must also be registered on an electoral register.

Changes to applications

As of 31 October 2023, you will need to supply your national insurance number on 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 service

From 31 October 2023, you will also be able to apply for a proxy vote online. Online applications will still need to need to contain your national insurance number.

You can apply online.

Downloadable forms

All the following forms can be downloaded:

  • form to appoint a proxy for a single election only
  • form to make a permanent proxy appointment based on medical reasons
  • form to make a permanent proxy appointment for voters on educational courses
  • form to make a permanent proxy appointment who cannot attend polling stations due to work commitments (including those who are self-employed, or travelling overseas)
  • form for registered overseas electors to appoint a proxy
  • form for a person working for the British Council or registered as a Crown servant
  • form for a person registered as a service voter

Download a form

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. Otherwise, you will be able to vote on behalf of 4 British citizens living overseas.

If you can attend a polling station yourself

If you discover you can attend a polling station on election day yourself after you have appointed a proxy, you will still be able to attend and cast your vote provided:

  • your proxy has not already attended the polling station to cast your vote
  • your proxy has not applied to vote by post on your behalf

If your proxy can't get to your polling station

If a proxy cannot get to your allocated polling station on election day, a postal proxy can be put in place. This will allow the proxy to vote by post on your behalf. If the proxy wishes to vote by post, they must complete and submit their own postal proxy application.

When do you need my form?

We will need to receive your completed proxy application forms by a specific date in the election timetable. This date is always found on the relevant webpage for the election. Some useful information on the deadlines is as follows:

  • the deadline for completed proxy applications is 5:00 p.m., no later than six working days before polling day
  • if the person being appointed as the proxy wants to vote by post, they must first be appointed by the elector, and then submit a postal proxy application themselves by 5pm, no later than 11 working days before polling day

Emergency proxy applications

If an elector has a medical emergency which occurs after the normal proxy deadline, they may apply for an emergency proxy appointment up to 5pm on polling day. Support will be required from a medical source before such an application can be granted.

The following emergency proxy application forms can be downloaded:

  • emergency proxy application form for medical reasons
  • emergency proxy application form for work reasons

Download an emergency proxy form

Further information

Additional information can also be found on the Electoral Commission website.