Postal and proxy votes

Postal votes

If you cannot get to your local polling station on the day of an election you can vote by post.

From 31 October 2023, postal vote applications will only be valid for a maximum 3 year period. You then have to re-apply and the Braintree Elections Team will write to you about this prior to your period expiring. Find out more about the changes to postal voting

Anyone whose name appears on the register of electors can apply to vote by post. No special qualifications or requirements are necessary. If you want to vote by post at any or all elections you can apply to do so.

Apply for a postal vote

From 31 October 2023 you can apply online for a postal vote on the GOV.UK website.

You can apply for a postal vote:

  • for one election
  • for a set period of time
  • 3 year maximum period

Please note: if you apply for a postal vote about 6 weeks before the poll, the actual postal ballot paper will not be posted to you until about 10 days before the poll. If you are going on holiday, you may want to check with us the actual despatch dates before applying.

There will no longer be an option to permanently hold a postal vote, instead after a maximum period of three years voters will need to reapply for a postal vote.

If you elect to vote by post, you cannot then go in person to the polling station to vote. You can however, hand your postal vote into the polling station or Braintree District Council offices if you have not posted it back to us. This must be either the polling station at which you would otherwise vote, or a polling station within the same electoral area, a maximum of 6 postal votes can be delivered by one person.

Please remember:

  • if you move house your postal vote will cease when you are removed from the register at the address at which you were living when the postal vote was granted. You will need to apply for a new one when re-registering at a new address even if this continues to be within the district.
  • If you change your name you will need to re-apply in your new name as we hold a signature and this may not match and your postal vote may be rejected.

After you have applied

We will let you know if your postal vote application has been successful, though there may not always be enough time to do this just before an election.

We will then send your postal voting papers out to you between four and two 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 or any polling station in your electoral area or drop it in to our Council Offices in Braintree.

One-off postal voting

Provided you are registered, you can apply for a postal vote for a specific election by using the GOV.UK website. Applications can be made at any time of the year up to the closing date and you should apply as soon as you know you cannot get to the polling station on polling day. We acknowledge we have set up your postal voting request.

Postal voting for a set period

You can arrange to vote by post for a set period, e.g. a year. For example, university students can apply for a postal vote so they can vote in their home area. You will then automatically be able to vote by post at any election during this set period.

Postal votes for students

If you're a student, you can register to vote at both your home address and your term-time address, however you can only vote once for the same election so you cannot vote twice for any poll, like the Parliamentary 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.

Important - When you receive your poll card, please check as a priority what address it says you postal ballot paper will be sent to. If it is a different term and you have moved to a different address, please tell us urgently.  

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 two different local authority areas, you can vote in in both areas. This is because they are separate elections.

Anti-fraud measures

Because of concerns about fraudulent practices related to postal voting in some areas at previous elections the Government introduced some new requirements in the Electoral Administration Act 2006. It is therefore necessary, when applying for a postal vote, to provide your date of birth and a specimen signature (known as personal identifiers). If you are unable to supply a signature please contact electoral services at the council for further advice.

You will be required to provide these again when sending in your postal vote. The two sets of identifiers will be compared when the postal votes are opened to ensure that they match. If they don't, the returning officer will reject the vote.


Electoral Registration Officer and Returning Officer

Address: Causeway House,
Bocking End,

Telephone: 01376 552525

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