Questions and answers about the elections
How can I vote at the May 2021 elections?
There are a number of ways to have your say on Thursday, 6 May. You can vote in a polling station, by post, or by appointing someone you trust to vote on your behalf, known as a proxy vote.
How do I register to vote?
To vote in any election in the UK, you must be registered. You can do this on the Gov.uk website. It only takes around five minutes to do so.
If you are unable to register online, you can call Customer Services on 01793 464601. You will need to provide your date of birth and have your National Insurance Number ready.
How can I apply to vote by post or proxy?
To vote, whether that is in person at a polling station, or by proxy or post, you must be registered to vote. Please make sure you are registered by Monday, 19 April 2021.
To apply to vote by post you need to download, print and fill in a postal vote application form. You can also download, print and scan the completed application and send it back to us via email. You will find all details on how to vote by post on the relevant webpage.
Another way of voting is to ask someone you trust to cast your vote for you. This is called a proxy vote and the person casting your vote is often referred to as your proxy. The person voting on your behalf can either go to your polling station to cast your vote, or can apply to vote for you by post, this is called a postal proxy. To apply for a proxy vote, complete the form to vote by proxy, explaining why you can't get to your polling station in person. The deadline to apply for a proxy vote is 5.00pm on Tuesday, 27 April 2021. The deadline for a proxy to apply for a postal proxy is 5.00pm on Tuesday, 20 April 2021. You will find all details on voting by proxy on the relevant webpage.
Is voting by post secure?
Voting by post is safe and proven cases of electoral fraud are rare. When voting by post, you should mark your vote on the ballot paper in secret, and seal the envelope yourself. You will also be asked to give your date of birth and signature when applying for a postal or proxy vote. This makes absent voting safe, because when you return your voting pack, your signature and date of birth are checked against those you provided before to confirm your identity.
Your signature and date of birth are separated from your ballot paper before it is looked at or counted, so giving this information will not affect the secrecy of your vote.
How are you making polling stations COVID-safe?
This year, we are putting arrangements in place to help make sure polling stations are COVID-safe for residents to vote.
At the polling stations:
- Social distancing and queuing systems in will be in place
- Hand sanitiser will be available and, where appropriate, screens and distance markers will be in use
- Fewer people will be allowed into polling stations – please allow for extra time when you visit as you may have to queue
- You will be asked to wear a mask (unless you are exempt)
- You should bring your own pen or pencil to cast your vote
We will continue our discussions with public health authorities as we prepare for the elections to make sure we are following the most up-to-date guidance. We will continue to update these pages as more information and guidance becomes available.
Will I need to bring my own pen or pencil?
We recommend that you bring your own pen or pencil to cast your vote however, pencils will be provided at the polling station.
What should I do if I find out closer to the time that I need to self-isolate?
If you are required to self-isolate due to coronavirus, you will still be able to vote in the election. Any person who is self-isolating due to the coronavirus will be able to access an emergency proxy vote, up to 5.00pm on the date of the election, Thursday, 6 May.