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How to vote

Hand posting a polling card into a vote box

No vote no voice

In order for you to vote at an election your name must first appear on the Register of Electors. 

Apply to register to vote

Please note: If you are a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen you can vote at all elections and referendums held in the UK.

Three ways to vote

The three ways in which you can vote are below but you must be registered under GOV.UK - Individual Electoral Registration.

Vote in person

If you have chosen to vote in person, before an election you will be sent your poll card which will inform you of the address of your polling station. The polling card will have on your elector number, name and address, the date of the election and the hours the polling stations are open, which is 7am until 10pm. 

If anyone in your household is on the register of electors and has not received a poll card please contact us immediately.

You don't need to take your poll card with you to vote. If you lose it or forget to take it you will still be able to vote, you will just be asked to confirm your name and address.

On election day, you will need to show photo ID to the polling station staff. More information can be found on Voter ID

You will then be given a ballot paper to complete. You may be given two ballot papers if your area is having a parish election. In the privacy of the voting booth mark an 'X' next to the candidate(s) you want to vote for. Once you have put your mark(s) on the paper you should fold it in half and place it in the ballot box.

Changes to assist voters with disabilities at polling stations have been made. For more information see accessible voting.

Vote by post

Since 31 October 2023 you can apply to vote by post online. Electors must provide their national insurance number and be on the electoral register.

Apply for a postal vote

Before you start you'll need

  • the address where you are registered to vote
  • your National Insurance number or other identity documents, for example a passport
  • the specific date of the election or referendum you want to make a postal vote, if you only want a one-off postal vote

You'll also need to upload a photo of your handwritten signature in black ink on plain white paper.

You might be asked for extra documents to identify you.

Other way to apply

If you cannot apply online, please email us at electoralservices@preston.gov.uk or call us on 01772 906908 and request an application form. 

Further Information

Once the application form has been completed you will be added to the list of postal voters and will receive a letter of confirmation.

Please note that if you change your address you will have to re-register at your new address and apply for a postal vote at your new address.

Before the election you will be sent a polling card advising you of your postal voting arrangement and the dates you should expect the delivery of your ballot paper postal pack to arrive.

How to complete your postal vote at election time

When your ballot paper postal pack arrives it will contain your ballot paper, a brown ballot paper envelope, a postal voting statement and a white return envelope.

Once you have marked your ballot paper in secret and sealed up in the brown envelope you must complete the security statement by entering your date of birth and signature on the statement.

Both the security statement and brown envelope containing your ballot paper should be placed inside the white return envelope ensuring the address is showing through the envelope window.

You then need to seal the envelope and post it back.

Please ensure that the statement is completed with your signature and date of birth as failure to do this will make your vote invalid.

For a simple step by step guide to filling in your postal vote see our easy read guide - how to fill in your postal vote.

Vote by proxy

Since 31 October 2023 you can apply to vote by proxy online. Electors must provide their national insurance number and be on the electoral register.

A proxy vote means you can nominate someone to vote on your behalf if you can't get to a polling station. You must be on the electoral register before you can apply to vote by proxy. The person you appoint as proxy must also be on the electoral register.

Apply for a proxy vote

Who can apply for a proxy vote?

You can choose to vote by proxy for a definite or indefinite period of time, however, you must have a reason for applying to vote by proxy such as:

  • Live overseas
  • Have a physical disability
  • Away from home because of your job or you are attending an educational course
  • In the armed forces or is a spouse or civil partner of someone in the armed forces.
  • A Crown Servant or British Council employee

On the application you must state why you cannot attend your polling station in person and who you wish to appoint as your proxy.

If you wish to apply for an indefinite proxy you will need to get someone to attest your form such as your employer, lecturer or medical professional. If you are suddenly taken ill you can apply for an emergency proxy vote up until 5pm on polling day, again this will have to be attested by a medical professional.

If you are going away on holiday, or you will not be at home on election day, you can appoint a proxy for that particular election. This does not need to be attested but you must give a reason.

Before you start you will need

Ask your proxy's permission before you apply.

You'll need:

  • your National Insurance number or any other identity document, for example a birth certificate
  • the address where your proxy is registered to vote
  • contact details for your proxy

You'll also need to upload a photo of your handwritten signature in black ink on plain white paper.

If you cannot provide a signature or one that always looks the same, you may be able to apply for a proxy vote signature waiver within the service.

Other way to apply

If you cannot apply online, please email us at electoralservices@preston.gov.uk or call us on 01772 906908 and request an application form. 

Further Information

Once the application has been completed you will be added to the list of proxy voters and we will send you, and your proxy, a letter of confirmation.

Please note that if you change your address you will have to re-register at your new address and apply for a proxy vote at your new address.

Before the election you will be sent a polling card advising you of your postal voting arrangement. Your proxy will need to go to your polling station to vote for you (unless they request a postal proxy vote). The person who you have appointed to be your proxy will be sent a letter which they need to take to your polling station. Your proxy will then be issued with your ballot paper(s) which they mark in secret in a polling booth.

Easy Read Guide - How to fill in your postal vote

Simple step by step guide to filling in your postal vote

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