Changes to Postal and Proxy Voting
Absent voting allows you to vote in an election if you are unable to vote in person at the polling station on the day. For example you might be on holiday or at work, or you might have a medical condition or disability which makes it difficult to attend the polling station.
There are two types of absent voting:
Postal voting – once a completed application has been submitted, a postal pack, which will include your ballot paper will be sent to you by post. You will be asked to complete your postal pack and return it in time to be included in the counting of votes.
Proxy voting – you can appoint someone you to trust to vote on your behalf. Once appointed they will vote at the polling station at which you would normally vote at.
Changes you’ll see:
You will have the option to apply for a postal vote via a new central government online system.
You will need to provide photographic ID when applying for an absent vote, whether this is an online application or paper application.
Postal voters must reapply to vote by post every 3 years.
Political parties and campaigners will be banned from handling postal vote packs.
There will be a limit on the number of postal vote packs that a person can hand in at a polling station.
You will only be able to act as a proxy for up to 2 people living in the UK (or a maximum of 4 people, with 2 people living in the UK and 2 people registered as living overseas).
When do the changes come into force?
Online absent voting applications is expected from July 2023.
The rules of secrecy and who can handle postal votes is expected in Autumn 2023, but is not yet confirmed.
The process for a three yearly application process for postal voters will begin in June 2023.