Your Vote Matters – the Facts – Voting in UK
If you are registered to vote, you can do so in person, or as a postal or proxy vote. You will find all the details on this page to help you. Every vote makes a difference!
EU Election 23rd May 2019 7am (BST)
Read the Facts
1. The British government has confirmed that long-term expats outside of the United Kingdom—those who have lived abroad for more than 15 years—will not be allowed to vote in the May 23rd EU Election.
2. If you are a British citizen living abroad, you can apply to be an overseas voter.
3. If you need to return a paper form to your local authority, such as for a postal or proxy vote application, it is possible they will accept a scan or fax of a completed and signed form. However, you should contact your local electoral registration office first to check if they will accept a form in this way.
4. A separate Fact Sheet has been produced on proxy voting or you can contact your local authority.
Ways to Vote
Voting by Post
Anyone who is registered to vote can apply for a postal vote. If you are not already registered to vote, you will need to register in order to then cast your vote by post. You can apply for just one election or referendum, for a specific time period, or for a permanent postal vote. A postal vote can be sent to your home address or any other address that you provide.
If you are registered to vote, you can download an application form to vote by post.
Once you have completed and signed the application form scan it back to your electoral registration office. You must complete the application form if it is your first postal election vote.
You can read the full form below
Voting by Proxy
When you apply for a proxy vote you must provide a reason. You can apply for a proxy vote if:
- you are unable to go to the polling station for one particular election, for example, if you are away on holiday
- you have a physical condition that means you cannot go to the polling station on election day
- your employment means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day
- your attendance on an educational course means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day
- you are a British citizen living overseas
- you are a crown servant or a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces
The person you wish to appoint as your proxy can only act as proxy if they are 18 (16 in Scotland) and are registered to vote. A person cannot be a proxy for more than two people at any one election or referendum, unless they are a close relative.
Your proxy must go to your local polling place to vote. Your proxy will be sent a proxy poll card, telling them where and when to vote. You must let your proxy know how you want them to vote on your behalf, for example, for which candidate or party.
If your proxy cannot get to the polling place, they can apply to vote for you by post. They can apply to do this up to 5pm, 11 working days before election day. Your electoral registration office can give you more details about this.
It’s very simple to vote as someone’s proxy. You will be sent a special proxy poll card with details of where you should go to vote. Just tell the staff at the polling station that you are voting as a proxy and they will tell you what to do. Don’t forget to take your proxy poll card – this will make it easier for polling place staff to find the right ballot paper.
You can also visit our dedicated Voting by Proxy page to get the full facts and download the application form
Registering to Vote – Please note Registrations to vote close at midnight on Tuesday 7 May. The following is however useful for future reference.
Contact Your Local Authority
https://www.yourvotematters.co.uk/register-to-vote/find-your-local-authority takes you to every Local Authority in the UK showing contact information including full postal address, telephone number and a link you can click on to send an email. You need to contact your local authority if you have questions about whether or not you are registered to vote and any other matters causing you concern. Enter your postcode to find your local authority. If you don’t know your postcode, you can use the A to Z list.
How to Register to Vote
If you are not registered to vote, you will need to register to vote by Tuesday 7 May to vote in the European Elections.
In England, Scotland and Wales you can register to vote at gov.uk/register-to-vote.
In Northern Ireland, visit Register to vote in Northern Ireland page to download a registration form.
Some local authorities do provide a telephone registration service. You should contact your local registration office to find out (see Contact your Local Authority above). You cannot search the Electoral Register online.
What you Need to Register to Vote
- Date of Birth
- Date you left the UK to reside overseas
- Your last UK Postcode
- National Insurance Number
- Passport Number (not always necessary)
British citizens living abroad can vote in UK Parliamentary and European Parliamentary elections but cannot vote in local elections or elections to devolved bodies such as the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales or London Assembly.
If you want to register to vote in England, Scotland or Wales, you can register online in the same way as all other voters in Great Britain. Register to vote online any time at gov.uk/register-to-vote. To register to vote in Northern Ireland, visit the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland website to download the correct form.
Postal votes can be sent overseas, but you need to consider whether there will be enough time to receive and return your ballot paper so it arrives back by 10pm on polling day. If you are an overseas voter you will need to include the address where you were last registered to vote in the UK. There is a section on the form for your correspondence address – you can include your overseas address in this section.
If you were too young to register when you left the UK, you can still register as an overseas voter. You can do this if your parent or guardian was registered to vote in the UK, as long as you left the UK no more than 15 years ago.
It does not matter where a British citizen was born. If you were a resident at an address in the UK at some point within the past 15 years and your parent or guardian was registered to vote at that address, you can register to vote as an overseas voter.