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Postal voting

If you would prefer not to vote in person at a polling station, you can vote by post or nominate another person to vote for you by proxy.

On this page:

You do not need to provide photographic ID when applying to vote by post or when returning your ballot. 

Important information about returning a postal vote

There have been changes to the law about how we can receive completed postal votes.  

We can no longer accept postal votes put into a letterbox at a council office.  Any that are put in a letterbox must be immediately rejected and your vote will not be counted.  

We recommend that you use the Royal Mail service to return your postal vote by putting it into a postbox, handing it in at a post office, or getting it collected by the Royal Mail collection service.  

You can hand in up to 5 postal votes, in addition to your own, at our information offices but you must now complete an accompanying form with the authorised officer, otherwise your vote will be rejected.

All information officers are able to help complete forms during opening hours.  

You can hand in postal votes at a polling station on polling day, and the staff there will be authorised to complete the form required with you.  

How to apply for a postal vote

You need to verify your identity when you apply for a postal vote.

You can do this by providing your National Insurance number.

If you can't provide a National Insurance number, or we aren't able to verify your identity with it, we'll ask you for more identification.

You can download a postal vote application form and complete it by hand.

To ask for help filling in the form, or to ask us to send you a form email us

You can apply to vote by post for a specific election or for all future elections. We do not need to know why you want to vote by post.

You cannot vote in person if you have applied to vote by post.

Your ballot paper may not arrive until about a week before election day. You need to consider whether there is enough time to receive and return your ballot paper before voting closes.

Ballot papers that arrive after this time will not be counted.

If this is not convenient, nominating a proxy to cast your vote on your behalf might suit you better.

Help with signing

You must sign your application form yourself. No-one else may sign it for you.

If you find it difficult to sign your name consistently, for example if you have a disability, download the proxy and postal waiver application form below.

Proxy and postal waiver application form (PDF) [22KB] (opens new window)

Print and complete this form. Send both this and your postal or proxy vote application form to us using the address at the bottom of this page.

Overseas voters

If you're an overseas voter, you will need to include the address where you were last registered to vote in the UK on the application form.

There is a section on the form for your correspondence address. Include your overseas address in this section.

Find out how register to vote if you are a member of HM Armed Forces or living overseas.

How to vote by post

You will receive your postal voting pack shortly before polling day. We must receive it back by 10pm on polling day. 

Inside the pack you will find the following paperwork:

  • a quick guide to help you to cast your vote
  • a postal voting statement with space for your date of birth and signature
  • at least one ballot paper (there may be multiple ballot papers if there are multiple elections being held on the same day) 
  • an envelope marked with the letter A also marked with your ballot paper number(s) 
  • an outer return address envelope marked with the letter B

You need to follow the instructions carefully and return your postal vote correctly. If you do not return everything back to us or you complete your pack incorrectly then your vote may not be counted. 

Refreshing your application 

You must refresh your application every three years or if your signature has changed.

We will contact you when you need to refresh your application to vote by post. 

You will need to return a fresh signature so we can update our records. 

If your signature has changed, for instance if you have changed your name, please contact us so we can send you out a form.

Contact us

Send all completed forms to the address below.

Electoral Services
New Forest District Council
Appletree Court
Beaulieu Road
SO43 7PA


Phone: 023 8028 5445

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