Absent – Postal

On 31 October 2023 the way you apply for a postal vote changed.

You are now required to make separate applications to vote by post in both UK Parliament and Scottish Elections.

If you are unable to go online to apply for a UK Parliament postal vote, you can use a paper form to apply for both UK Parliament and Scottish Elections postal votes Application to vote by post in Scotland (electoralcommission.org.uk)

It is important that you read the guidance on the form before completing and returning it.

If you are having any difficulties with the completion of the form or require further assistance, please contact us.

 

How do I apply for a postal vote?

It depends on what kind of election you are entitled to vote in and what kind of election you want a postal vote for.

Generally if you are a UK or Commonwealth citizen, 18 or over and you are on the Electoral Register you are entitled to vote at both UK Parliament and Scottish elections. You need to apply for a postal vote separately for each type of election.

If you only wish a postal vote for a UK Parliament election you can go to www.gov.uk/apply-postal-vote and complete the online form.

If you only wish a postal vote for a Scottish election you need to complete a paper application form and return it to us.  You can download a form at Application to vote by post in Scotland (electoralcommission.org.uk) or contact one of our offices to receive it by post

If you wish a postal vote for both election types you can go to www.gov.uk/apply-postal-vote and complete the online form for UK Parliament Elections and also download an application form for Scottish Elections and return to your Electoral Registration Office.

If you are not a UK or Commonwealth citizen or are aged 16/17 and are on the Electoral Register then it is likely that you will only be eligible to vote in Scottish Elections and you should complete this from Application to vote by post in Scotland (electoralcommission.org.uk) and return it to your Electoral Registration Office.  You should not attempt to use the UK Government online option as your application will be rejected.

If you are unable to apply online or to download a form please contact your Electoral Registration Office for an application form.

Please Note that any application for a postal vote must be received by the Electoral Registration Office no later than 5pm 11 working days before the Election.

 

Why can I not apply on line for a postal vote for Scottish Elections

The law regarding absent votes for Scottish elections is decided by the Scottish Parliament and there has been no change to the law.  The recent change in legislation to allow online applications relates only to UK Parliament elections.

 

Why do the UK and Scottish application forms require different information

The forms reflect the information that is required by the legislation covering each of the UK Parliament and Scottish Elections. Applications for an absent vote for UK Parliament elections are subject to an identity check, similar to that undertaken when you register. Your National Insurance number will be matched against information held by the Department For Work and Pensions. Applications for Scottish Elections only do not require that identity check and a National Insurance Number isn’t asked for.

 

I don’t have /can’t find my national insurance number – does that mean I can’t apply for a UK Parliament absent vote?

You may still be able to apply for a UK Parliament absent vote by providing your us with other documentary evidence. Please contact us for further advice on this.

 

Why is a UK Parliament Postal Vote valid for a maximum of 3 years but the Scottish Elections Postal Vote until further notice?

The options on the application form reflect the maximum amount of time permitted by law for the two different applications.

 

How do I apply for Proxy Vote

You can apply for a proxy vote for an indefinite period, a definite period or for a particular election.

If you only wish a Proxy to vote for you at a particular election, then you are required to give a reason why you are wanting to appoint a Proxy to vote on your behalf. For UK and Scottish elections, you can use this form to apply Application to vote by proxy in Scotland at a particular election (electoralcommission.org.uk) or for UK elections only you can apply online at Apply for a proxy vote – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Please note that the application must be received by your Electoral Registration Officer no later than 5pm 6 working days before the Election that you are applying for. Both you and your appointed proxy must be registered to vote and be eligible to vote in the election. In UK elections, your proxy will be unable to vote for more than 4 people, and only 2 of these can be domestic electors (Domestic electors are those electors who are neither service electors nor overseas electors).

Please check with your chosen proxy that they meet these requirements before submitting your application. If they don’t you will need to find another proxy to vote on your behalf.

If you wish to apply for a proxy vote for a definite or indefinite period this can only be done for a limited number of reasons. The reasons are:

  • blindness
  • another disability
  • your occupation/employment/service or attendance on a course
  • (where applicable) registered as a service voter or overseas voter
  • (where applicable) registered as an anonymous elector
  • (where applicable) prisoners convicted to a term or 12 months or less

In some instances an attestation in support of your application is also required.

Applications for a proxy vote for an indefinite or definite period can only be made by completing and returning the appropriate form to your Electoral Registration Office.

 

Contact Details

For the Argyll & Bute Council

Electoral Registration Office, Kilbrannan House, Bolgam Street, CAMPBELTOWN, PA28 6JY.

[email protected]

 

For West Dunbartonshire Council and East Dunbartonshire Council areas

Electoral Registration Office, 235 Dumbarton Road, CLYDEBANK, G81 4XJ.

[email protected] – West Dunbartonshire Council

[email protected] – East Dunbartonshire Council