General information on how postal and proxy voting works
Postal vote applications
Anyone can apply to have their ballot papers sent to them through the post instead of going to vote in person at a polling station. By completing and submitting a postal vote application form, you can choose to vote by post:-
- until further notice
- for an election held on a particular date
- for all future elections until a certain specified date
Any permanent arrangement will remain in place either until it is cancelled in writing by the elector, or the elector is no longer registered at that address, or if the elector fails to supply a new specimen signature after five years.
If you have a disability preventing you from signing your postal vote application form, the Elections Team can waive the requirement for you to provide a signature, but we will need to obtain a signed declaration from a supporter to verify your claim.
I've applied for a postal vote - when should it arrive and what should I do if it doesn't?
We usually aim to send out ballot papers by first class post approximately two weeks before polling day. If your pack does not arrive by then, you can apply for a new one between five working days before polling day and 5pm on the day of poll.
Proxy vote applications
People may appoint a proxy to vote on their behalf. With this arrangement, if the elector suddenly finds that he/she is able to attend their polling station in person on polling day after all, he/she will still have the opportunity of voting themselves in person, provided that their proxy has not already done so, or has not voted on their behalf by post.
Proxies must be properly appointed in advance of the election. In cases where proxies are appointed for more than a single election, their application is likely to require further support. Details of when and what further support is required are shown on the proxy voting application form, and further guidance can be provided by the Electoral Services Team.
Proxies can themselves apply to vote by post on behalf of an elector if they live away from the area where the elector is allocated to vote, or if they are postal voters themselves. If they do wish to vote by post, their postal proxy application must be received no later than 5pm eleven working days prior to the election taking place. Once a postal ballot paper has been sent to the named proxy, neither the elector nor their appointed proxy would be able to vote in person at a polling station.
How to make a written postal or proxy application
Application forms for postal or proxy voting can be downloaded from this page, you can collect one from the Shirehall in Shrewsbury, or you can obtain one by calling the Electoral Services Team on 0345 678 9015. Postal and proxy application forms for specific by-elections are included on the special webpages set up for that election - just type the name of the area in the "Search" facility (for instance 'Abbey election').
Deadlines for making written postal and proxy applications in the run-up to an election
- Postal applications: the latest date for submitting a new postal vote application form for a postal vote is 5pm, eleven working days before polling day.
- Proxy applications: the latest date for submitting a new proxy voting application form for a proxy vote is 5pm, six working days before polling day. Note however that if a postal proxy is required, the deadline is 5pm, eleven working days before polling day.
- Emergency proxy applications: in the case of a medical emergency (for that elector) on the grounds of unforeseen physical incapacity, a special proxy application form can be received up until 5pm on the day of poll. It does need to give the nature of the incident and the date and time that this occurred, and must also be countersigned by a suitably qualified supporter (usually a doctor).