Elections and voting
Vote by post
Vote by post
If you cannot get to your local polling station on the day of an election you can vote by post.
You can apply for a postal vote for:
- A single election on a specific date
- A specific period
- Up to 3 years
You can apply online for a postal vote on the GOV.UK website.
The postal ballot paper will be posted about 10 days before election day. If you are going on holiday or will be away from home, you may want to check with us the actual despatch dates before applying.
You can apply for a postal vote for a specific period or a maximum of 3 years. There is no longer the option to permanently hold a postal vote.
You need to complete a new postal vote application if you move house or change your name.
After you have applied
We will let you know if your postal vote application has been successful, although there may not always be enough time to do this just before an election.
We will send your postal voting papers 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
- Any polling station in your electoral area
- Our Council Offices in Epping
A maximum of 6 postal votes can be delivered by 1 person.
Postal voting for a single election
If you only want a one-off postal vote and provided you are registered, you can apply for a postal vote on GOV.UK. Applications can be made at any time of the year up to the closing date. You should apply as soon as you know you cannot get to the polling station on election day.
Postal voting for a set period
You can arrange to vote by post for a set period such as 6 months or a year.
Postal votes for students
If you’re a student, you can register to vote at both your home address and your term-time address. You can only vote once for the same election and you cannot vote twice for any poll, like a general election.
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.
When you receive your poll card, you must check the address it says your postal ballot paper will be sent to. If it is a different term and you have moved to a different address, tell us immediately.
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 2 different local authority areas, you can vote in in both areas. This is because they are separate elections.
The Government introduced new requirements in the Electoral Administration Act 2006 due to concerns about fraudulent practices related to postal voting.
When applying for a postal vote, you must provide:
- Your date of birth
- A specimen signature, known as a personal identifier
You will be required to provide these when sending in your postal vote. When postal votes are opened we compare the 2 sets of identifiers to make sure they match. If they don’t, the returning officer will reject the vote.
If you are unable to supply a signature contact the elections team for advice.
Postal votes are sent by first-class post after the close of nominations. If you apply near the deadline they will be posted by the Friday before polling week.
Changes to postal vote handling and secrecy will place a ban on political campaigners handling postal votes except where the postal vote is their own, close family member, or someone they provide regular care for.
There is also a limit on the number of postal votes a person can into a polling station. They will not be allowed to hand in more than 5 postal ballot packs for other electors plus their own and will be required to complete a postal vote document otherwise the postal vote(s) will be rejected.
If you complete your postal vote pack but don’t send it in time, you can drop it off before 10pm on election day at:
- Your local polling station
- Epping Forest District Council Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, CM16 4BZ (Open 9am to 5pm)
This is subject to the above requirements.
Contact the elections team
For help with postal votes contact the elections team:
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call 01992 564411