How do I vote?
Poll cards are delivered shortly before an election to all registered electors. Each member of your household who is eligible to vote should receive a poll card which informs them of the date of the election polling hours (currently 7am to 10pm for all elections), location of the polling station and deadlines for postal and proxy vote applications.
You do not need to take your poll card with you to be able to vote.
When you arrive at the polling station the Presiding Officer will ask you to confirm your name and address and will give you a ballot paper. After marking your vote, you should fold the ballot paper in half and place it in the ballot box, which will be found next to the staff working at the station.
Can I vote by post?
You must be a registered elector to be eligible to vote by post.
You may choose to vote by post if it would be easier for you. You do not need to give a reason why you want a postal vote. A postal vote can be temporary (for one election) or permanent (for all elections). Your application must be made in writing.
There is always a last date to receive postal vote applications in time for a particular election. The date and time will be advertised closer to the election date.
Postal votes are sent out several days before an election. This is to ensure that you have sufficient time to receive, complete and return your ballot paper.
You will receive instructions with your ballot paper on how to complete your postal vote.If you have a postal vote, you cannot vote in person at a polling station. If you do not have time to post your completed form, you can hand it in at a polling station within your area on the day of the election.
Further information about voting by post can be found at the Electoral Commission website
Can I vote by proxy?
You must be registered to vote to be eligible to vote by proxy. You can check this by contacting the Electoral Services Office.
If you think that you will not be able to vote in person, you may be able to vote by proxy, which means that you will nominate someone to vote on your behalf. A proxy vote can be temporary (for one election or a set period) or permanent (for all elections).
You will need to give a reason why you want to appoint a proxy. For example, you might request a temporary proxy vote because you will be on holiday, or you might request a permanent proxy vote because of long-term ill health.
A permanent application must be supported by a relevant third party such as your doctor or employer.
The person you appoint as your proxy must also be a registered voter. A person can vote as proxy for any number of direct relations (husband, wife, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child or grandchild). A person cannot vote as proxy for more than two voters who are not direct relations.
You must advise the person who you appoint how you want to vote on that occasion, for example, which candidate, party, or outcome. They then need to visit your polling station to cast your vote on your behalf- they are usually issued with a proxy poll card to indicate this.
If you apply for a proxy vote then are able to go to the station then you can vote as long as you arrive before your proxy- you will not be able to vote again if your appointed person has already voted.
If you currently have a postal vote and need a proxy, you will need to apply for a proxy vote- this will cancel your postal vote completely.
After the election you would be required to reapply for a postal vote if you want to vote this way at future elections.
For information, there are circumstances where a person appointed as a proxy can apply to receive your ballot paper in a postal pack- they cannot fill in your postal vote pack- they would need to be appointed as a proxy and then they would apply for a postal proxy vote once appointed- if more information is required regarding this then please contact the Electoral Services Office.