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Ways to vote

Voting in person

Each elector that registers to vote is automatically assigned to vote in person at their local polling station. If you have not yet registered to vote you can register online.

At the time of an election you will receive a poll card which will give you information about the election(s) you are eligible to vote in, which polling station you should go to, and the date and hours of the poll.

A poll card is for information only and is not required in order to vote, but it can help the staff at the polling station to locate your entry on the Register. At the polling station you will be asked to confirm your name and address and as long as your name is present on the Register of Electors and you are eligible to vote in that particular election, you will be issued with a ballot paper.

The usual hours of poll for elections are 7:00am to 10:00pm.

If you do not wish to vote in person at your allocated polling station you can complete and return an application to vote by post or an application to vote by proxy in advance of an election.

Voting by post

Voting by post is available to everyone, you may want to vote by post if you find you will be away on the day of an election, you’re unable to get to the polling station, or if you just prefer to complete your ballot papers at home.

Apply to vote by post

If you have not yet registered to vote then you will need to do this first - you can register online. You will be able to request a postal vote application form to be sent to you as part of your online application, and you must then return the postal vote form in order to put the arrangement in place.

If you are already registered to vote then you simply need to submit a postal vote application form.

You can apply to vote by post at any time throughout the year, but an application must be received by 5pm, 11 working days before an election in order to be valid for that election. Please note that if you need an application to be sent to you in the post, then you must give enough time for us to post the form to you, and for you to return it to us before the deadline. By law, an application received after the deadline cannot be processed for those elections.

If you are applying to vote by post because you will be away on holiday for the date of the election, please check what the dispatch date of your postal vote will be so that you can ensure that your vote will be delivered to you before you leave. Postal ballot papers are usually sent out around a week and a half before the date of an election but you can find more information about the dispatch dates for a particular election on our election notices and results pages.

If you decide to vote by post, please return your completed voting pack immediately after you receive it as postal ballot papers must be received by 10pm on polling day in order to be included in the count. If you miss the post then you can deliver your completed postal vote to the address shown on envelope B of the pack, or to your local polling station on polling day during the hours of poll.

Voting by proxy

Voting by proxy means appointing a trusted friend or relative to carry out your vote on your behalf. Usually the proxy will go to your allocated polling station to cast your vote for you in person, but they can apply to receive your vote through the post for them to complete if this is preferred (as long as they apply for this by the relevant deadline for each election). In either case, you need to inform them which candidate(s) you want to vote for in each election so they can mark your vote for you in accordance with your wishes.

Applying to vote by proxy as a one-off arrangement for a specific election date is available to everyone, providing there is a valid reason. We can also register you for proxy voting valid for a three-year period (subject to legal requirements) if:

  • You regularly work away
  • You are a student studying away from home
  • You find it physically difficult to attend the polling station

In order to obtain a proxy vote for a three-year period for one of these reasons, you will need to complete a specific application form. The application requires a signature from a qualified professional who can confirm that the reason given is true and accurate.

People choose to vote by proxy as it is a flexible absent vote arrangement. This is because if you are unable to get to your polling station on polling day then your proxy can attend and cast your vote for you as per your instructions. However if you do happen to be able to attend at your polling station on polling day then you can go and vote in person, so long as your proxy has not already been on your behalf.

Apply to vote by proxy

If you have not yet registered to vote then you will need to do this first - you can register online. You will be able to request a proxy vote application form to be sent to you as part of your online application, and you must then return the proxy vote form in order to put the arrangement in place.

If you are already registered to vote then you simply need to submit a proxy vote application form.

You can apply to vote by proxy throughout the year but an application must be received by 5pm, six working days before an election in order for it to be valid for that election. Please note that if you need an application to be sent to you in the post, then you must give enough time for us to post the form to you, and for you to return it to us before the deadline. By law, an application received after the deadline cannot be processed for those elections. If you already have a postal vote arrangement in place and want to change to a proxy arrangement, we must be notified by the earlier deadline for postal vote arrangements (5pm, 11 working days before an election) that you wish to cancel that arrangement before we can put in place a new proxy arrangement.

If you apply to vote by proxy, your proxy will receive a proxy poll card or letter before the election that they can take to the polling station with them. If your appointed proxy would prefer to receive your vote by post they can do so, but they must complete and return an additional form and this form must reach us before the deadline for applications to vote by post (5pm, 11 working days before the date of the election). Please note however that if they choose to receive your vote by post then you will not be able to vote in person on polling day should you happen to be available.

Electoral Registration Officer Addresses
Electoral Services
East Suffolk Council
2 Canning Road
Lowestoft
NR33 0EQ
Electoral Services
East Suffolk Council
East Suffolk House
Riduna Park, Station Road
Melton, Woodbridge
IP12 1RT