Elections and voting
Apply for a postal vote
If you cannot get to your local polling station on the day of an election you can vote by post.
From 31 October 2023, postal vote applications will only be valid for a maximum 3 year period. After this period you will have to re-apply, the Epping Forest Elections Team will write to you about this prior to your period expiring.
Anyone whose name appears on the register of electors can apply to vote by post. No special qualifications or requirements are necessary. If you want to vote by post at any or all elections you can apply to do so.
Apply for a postal vote
To apply for a postal vote contact Elections on:
We must receive your postal vote application at least 11 working days before the election, so that we can issue your postal vote.
Please note: if you apply for a postal vote about 6 weeks before the poll, the actual postal ballot paper will not be posted to you until about 10 days before the poll. If you are going on holiday, you may want to check the actual despatch dates before applying.
If you move house your postal vote will cease when you are removed from the register at the address at which you were living when the postal vote was granted. You will need to apply for a new one when re-registering at a new address even if this continues to be within the district.
After you have applied
We will let you know if your postal vote application has been successful, though there may not always be enough time to do this just before an election.
We will then send your postal voting papers out to you between 4 and 2 weeks before election day. The sooner you apply the better.
How to vote by post
Your postal vote must reach us by 10pm on election day.
You can post your postal vote using the envelope provided or hand it in at your polling station on election day or any polling station in your electoral area or drop it in to our Council Offices in Epping. A maximum of 6 postal votes can be delivered by 1 person.
One-off postal voting
Provided you are registered, you can apply for a postal vote for a specific election through the GOV.UK website. Applications can be made at any time of the year up to the closing date and you should apply as soon as you know you cannot get to the polling station on polling day.
Postal voting for a set period
You can arrange to vote by post for a set period, e.g. a year. For example, university students can apply for a postal vote in order to vote in their home area.
Postal votes for students
If you’re a student, you may be able to register to vote at both your home address and your term-time address.
If you request a postal vote you need to make sure it goes to where you want it – either to your home address or your university address.
You can only vote once in a national poll, such as a general election. At local elections, if your home and university addresses are in two different local authority areas, you can vote in in both areas. This is because they are separate elections.
Due to concerns about fraudulent practices related to postal voting in some areas at previous elections the Government introduced new requirements in the Electoral Administration Act 2006. When applying for a postal vote, you must provide your date of birth and a specimen signature (known as personal identifiers). If you are unable to supply a signature please contact electoral services at the council for further advice.
You will be required to provide these again when sending in your postal vote. The 2 sets of identifiers will be compared when the postal votes are opened to ensure that they match. If they don’t, the returning officer will reject the vote.
For help with postal votes contact the elections team on:
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call 01992 564411