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Postal and Proxy Voting

Postal Voting

The rules about postal voting have now been relaxed. Any elector may apply for a postal vote either for a particular election, or for all elections. You do not need to give a reason and you no longer need a signature from your doctor or employer.

From 1 January 2007 there are new provisions about the collection of personal identifiers. Each person applying for either a postal or proxy vote must complete the new postal voting form and supply a signature and a date of birth.

Application forms are currently only available by writing to this office, telephoning 01768 817817 or emailing

At present the forms cannot be sent by email to us, as they require a signature from the applicant. They can be sent by post or delivered in person to the Town Hall.

There are very strict deadlines for application at election times, the latest time being 5pm on the 11th working day before the day of election. However, it is best to submit your application as early as possible to give time for your postal vote to be processed.

If you already have a permanent postal vote and want to cancel or amend it you can do this, in writing, up to the 11th working day before the day of election. Please note that if you have a long term postal vote, you should ensure that the address to which it is going to be delivered is up to date. This applies particularly to students who may have changed accommodation or have completed their further education since they first applied.

The postal votes are normally issued about 8 days before an election. It is not possible to send them out any earlier than that as the legislation says we cannot do it before the 11th working day mentioned above. We need time to process any applications that have come in and also to get ballot papers, envelopes and Postal Vote Statements printed.

When you receive your papers there will be:

  • A ballot paper on which you should mark with a cross against the name(s) of the candidate(s) you wish to vote for - the ballot paper will say how many candidates you may vote for.
  • A Postal Vote Statement, which must be signed by you (unless you have been granted a waiver by the Electoral Registration Officer) and which must also contain your date of birth. This is so that additional checks can be made.
  • A ballot paper envelope. You should place the completed ballot paper (but nothing else) in this envelope.
  • A return envelope, addressed to the Returning Officer. You should place the ballot paper envelope and the completed Postal Vote Statement in this envelope before posting it to the Returning Officer. The postage is prepaid unless you are voting from overseas.

Your postal vote may be delivered to the Town Hall, Penrith at any time before close of poll. Alternatively it can be delivered to a polling station on the day of, and in the area of, the election, before close of poll.

Please note that if you don't follow the procedures above, your postal vote may not be counted.

Postal votes may now be sent overseas but this is not recommended, especially in Europe as there have been problems in the past with getting completed votes back in time. It is safer to appoint a proxy.

If you have been issued with a postal vote you may not vote in person - even if the postal ballot papers have not been received by you.

If your postal ballot papers do not arrive you may apply for another set from the 4th working day before the day of election.

If you spoil your ballot paper you may apply for another set, but you must return ALL the papers previously sent to you.

If you request a replacement postal vote pack between 5pm on the day before polling day and 5.00pm on polling day then you must apply in person and a replacement may only be made by hand. You will be required to provide proof of identity.

Proxy Voting

You may appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf. The person you appoint as proxy will receive a poll card giving details of which polling station to attend and the date and times of the poll. They would then vote on your behalf.

If you are applying for one election you do not need anyone to support your application but you do need to give a reason (for example: holidays, illness, employment). If applying for a permanent proxy vote you do need to get a doctor, nurse, or employer to sign your application. Full details of who can sign are enclosed with the application form.

It is not possible for anyone to act as a proxy unless they have been appointed by the elector by the deadline, which is the sixth working day before the day of election.

In exceptional cases, where someone has become ill after the normal deadline but before election day, an application for an emergency proxy vote may be submitted up to 5pm on election day. This must be signed by the elector and by a doctor, nurse, Christian Science practitioner or head of a nursing or residential home. Forms are available from the elections office.

If your proxy is unable to attend the polling station where you would normally vote, he or she can apply for a postal proxy vote. The deadline for applying for a postal proxy vote is the 11th working day before the day of poll.

You may vote in person if you do so before your proxy has voted on your behalf. In that case your proxy would not be able to act on your behalf. You cannot do this if your proxy has applied for a postal proxy vote.

General Notes

The deadlines for all applications are not set by this authority. They are contained in legislation. We have no power to accept late applications under any circumstances. Proof of postage is not accepted as proof of receipt. Forms sent or taken to any location other than the Electoral Registration Officer's office, Town Hall, Penrith, Cumbria may not get to the Returning Officer on time and may not then be accepted.

Eden District Council can only accept applications from electors registered in Eden District. Although we cover parts of Allerdale Borough and Carlisle City for Parliamentary elections, you still have to apply to the Council where you are registered for a postal or proxy vote. Applications sent to us in error will be forwarded where possible but we cannot guarantee delivery by the deadlines specified. It is therefore very important that you send your application to the correct Authority.

All applications must be signed by the elector. We cannot accept applications signed on behalf of an elector, even by someone with a Power of Attorney. Applicants must be capable of deciding for themselves who they wish to vote for. This means that certain people will not be entitled to vote (for example: sufferers of Dementia or Alzheimer's disease), even if they are entitled to be included in the Register of Electors.

There will be information on completion with the application forms. However, if you still require extra information please telephone 01768 817817 and ask for Electoral Registration.

For further information

  • Contact: Electoral Registration Officer
  • Email:
  • Telephone: 01768 817817
  • Fax: 01768 890470
  • Address: Eden District Council, Town Hall, Penrith, Cumbria CA11 7QF

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