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Apply to vote by post

Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting, especially if you are unable to go to your polling station on an election or referendum day.

You can apply for a postal vote through the government portal at apply for a postal vote. If you are unable to apply for the type of postal vote you require, or you would prefer to complete a paper application, please contact electoral services on 03000 261 212. Please note you are now required to provide your national insurance number as part of the application process.

You can apply to vote by post for a particular election, for a set period of time, or for all future elections and referendums.

Before you apply

You must be registered to vote before applying for a postal vote, see our Register to vote page for how to do this.

Voting abroad

Postal votes can be sent from anywhere, including outside of the United Kingdom if, for example, you are going on holiday. Remember, though, that if the address is outside the UK it will take time to reach you and for you to return it in order for your vote to be counted.

Moving house

If you move house you must contact us immediately or you may lose your postal vote.

When the postal are votes sent out

Postal votes are usually sent out about 10 days before election day.

How to fill it in

Once you've got it, mark your vote on the ballot paper and make sure you send it back in the envelope provided so that it arrives by the close of the poll, 10.00pm on the election day. If it arrives later than this your vote won't be counted.

How you can return your postal vote

From December 2023, new rules mean that your postal vote could be rejected if it is not returned correctly. Please make sure you post your postal vote back as soon as possible to ensure it is delivered in time. If you do not have time to post it back to us, you can hand it in at your local polling station or at County Hall, Durham, DH1 5UL.

  • The easiest and most convenient way to return your postal vote is by posting it in a Royal Mail post box using the pre-paid envelope provided (envelope B).
  • Please allow sufficient time for your postal vote to reach us. It must be received by the Returning Officer no later than the close of poll, 10.00pm on election day.
  • If you are hand delivering your completed postal vote, for example at a polling station or at reception at County Hall, you will need to complete a statutory form. The polling station or Customer Services staff will help you with this.
  • You may hand deliver your own and no more than five other postal votes per election.
  • If you are a campaigner, you can only hand in your own postal vote, and those of close relatives or people for whom you provide regular care.
  • Do not attempt to leave your postal vote in any other of our post boxes or Customer Access Points as the staff are not authorised to received postal votes and will not be able to provide the required form to complete. Any postal votes received without the required form will be rejected.
  • Do not leave your postal vote at reception at County Hall or a polling station desk without completing a form as it will be rejected.

Lost postal votes

If you lose or damage your postal vote, you can request a replacement - contact us on 03000 261 212.

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