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A guide to postal votes and proxy votes for the 2019 general election

Telegraph Reporters
The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 26 November. - AFP

The 2019 general election campaign is in full swing, and the deadline to apply for postal votes and proxy votes is drawing closer.

If you can't make it to a polling station on 12 December, read on to find out how to vote in this year's general election.

What is a postal vote?

In England, Scotland and Wales, you can choose to vote by post if you cannot or do not wish to attend your polling station in person.  Different arrangements for postal voting apply in Northern Ireland. See here for further details.

When do I need to return my postal vote by?

If you want to vote by post in the General Election, apply by 5pm on Nov 26 to receive your postal voting pack.

Your postal vote must then arrive at your Electoral Office in the UK by 10pm on Dec 12, the day of the election. 

There’s a different form to apply to vote by post in Northern Ireland. Apply by 5pm on Nov 21.

The postal voting instructions will be clearly laid out in your postal voting pack.

What's the process?

Complete your ballot paper in secret, then put it in the envelope supplied and seal it tight.  

You must also remember to fill in and sign the accompanying postal voting statement.

Put both items into the larger envelope and post it back to your local electoral registration office. 

Can I return my postal vote from abroad?

Yes. A postal vote can be sent to your home address, or any other address you provide. You just need to remember to allow enough time for it to be returned so it arrives back by 10pm on polling day otherwise your vote won't be counted.

If you're posting your vote from overseas you'll need to pay for postage. Otherwise there's a Freepost envelope provided for returns within the UK.


Is it too late to register?

No. The deadline in England, Scotland and Wales is 11.59pm on Nov 26.

If you want to apply to vote by post, register before:

  • 5pm on Nov 26 if you live in England, Scotland or Wales
  • 5pm on Nov 21 if you live in Northern Ireland

What is a proxy vote?

If you’re unable to vote in person you can ask someone to vote on your behalf. This is called a proxy vote.

You can only apply for a proxy vote under certain circumstances, including:

  • being away on polling day
  • having a medical issue or disability
  • not being able to vote in person because of work or military service

How to apply for a proxy vote

Apply for a proxy vote using a paper form. You need to send it to your local Electoral Registration Office by 5pm on Dec 4 if you are in England, Scotland or Wales.

There’s a different form to apply to vote by proxy in Northern Ireland. Apply by 5pm on Nov 21.

Who can act as a proxy

You can ask anyone to act as your proxy - as long as they:

  • are registered to vote
  • are allowed to vote in the type of election taking place
  • can vote in the polling station stated on your poll card

If they cannot get to your polling station, they will need to contact your local electoral registration office to arrange to cast their proxy vote by post.

Who should I vote for?

For a breakdown on what we know about each party's manifesto so far, head to our manifesto watch here.

Still unsure who to vote for? If you're thinking of voting tactically to get your preferred Brexit outcome, try our tactical voting guide to get our recommendation on whether voting tactically could actually affect your seat.