If you are registered to vote but unable to go to your polling station on election day you can apply to vote by proxy.
Completed forms should be returned to Electoral Services, or to our Customer Centre.
If applying for a particular upcoming election, ensure that your application will be received by the relevant proxy deadline, which will be declared for each election.
A 'proxy' is someone who will go to your normal polling station and vote, with your authority, on your behalf. They can be a relative (spouse, civil partner, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child or grandchild), and must be eligible to vote in the election you appoint them.
You can apply to vote by proxy on an indefinite basis for the following reasons:
- physical incapacity
- certain occupations such as armed forces
You can also apply to vote by proxy for the time period you're studying at university.
You can appoint a proxy for a specific election if you're unable to attend your polling station due to a journey that would involve travelling over sea or by air, see: Apply to vote by proxy (particular election).
In the case where medical emergencies or occupation requirements don’t allow you to vote in person, you can apply for an emergency proxy (depending on certain criteria):
Emergency medical proxy
To appoint an emergency proxy for medical reasons, you must be taken ill after a certain deadline (declared for each election) and not be aware of an operation that requires hospital or home recovery before that date. Medical proxy forms must be 'attested' (declare to be true) by a medical professional - see: apply to vote by emergency proxy - medical reasons
Emergency occupational proxy
To appoint an emergency proxy because your occupation or employment means you're unable to attend your polling station, you must not be aware of the occupational requirements before a certain deadline (declared for each election). Occupational proxy forms must be 'attested' (declare to be true) by your employer, who will legally state your circumstances were not known before the deadline - see: apply to vote by emergency proxy - occupational reasons
Emergency COVID-19 proxy
To appoint an emergency proxy if you are self-isolating, or if you already have a nominated proxy, however, they are self-isolating, you, or your proxy, must not have been self isolating before a certain deadline (declared for each election). If you wish to change your proxy due to them having to self isolate due to COVID-19, any newly appointed proxy will remain as their appointed proxy for future polls - see: apply to vote by emergency proxy - COVID-19
Emergency proxy applications can be made at West Offices up until 5.00pm on the day of an election.
Completing a proxy vote
You'll need to tell your proxy who you want to vote for (which candidate and party).
Your proxy will need to go to your designated polling station on the election day (alternatively they can apply for a postal proxy vote, 11 working days in advance of the election).
Ahead of the election your proxy will receive a letter to take with them to your designated polling station, the letter:
- confirms their appointment as your proxy
- tells them where and when to vote on your behalf
- makes it easier for staff at the polling station to find the right ballot paper
Even if you've appointed a proxy, you can still vote in person, provided:
- you vote before your proxy has voted for you
- your proxy has not applied to vote for them by post
The person you appoint as a proxy can vote by post provided it's arranged before a certain deadline (declared for each election).
Changes to your proxy voting arrangements
To amend the details of your proxy vote you must write to (or email) Electoral Services to request changes; you'll also need to complete a new proxy vote application.
Cancel your proxy vote
To cancel your proxy vote you must write to Electoral Services.
Each person on the electoral register must make a separate written request to cancel their proxy voting arrangements. Cancellations cannot be requested on behalf of someone else.