Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I vote?

Voting in Local, Parliamentary and European elections provides you with an opportunity to influence the UK democratic process through choosing your leaders or representatives to then represent you in policy development and decision making. The ability to vote exists as one of the more cherished rights that many have fought, marched and died for over the centuries. You might think that your vote does not matter, but every vote counts equally and there have been many elections which have been decided by less than 100 votes.

It is the first time I am going to vote, how do I do it?

The Electoral Commission has produced a very good Easy Guide to Voting leaflet that will help you with the process and what to expect when you turn up at the polling station. The polling station staff will also be happy to help you.

How do I find out where my polling station is?

The polling station allocated to you is on your poll card and you can only vote in the polling station that is allocated to your address. This may not be the closest polling station to your home.

Why haven’t I received my poll card?

Poll cards are delivered two to three weeks before an election. You can still vote even if you do not have a poll card, as long as you are on the electoral register. You should check with Electoral Services whether you are on the electoral register and report the fact that you have not received your poll card. You can do this by emailing electors@brighton-hove.gov.uk or calling (01273) 291999.

Who can apply for a postal vote?

Anyone who is registered to vote can apply for a postal vote. To cancel a postal vote, you must write either by posting a letter or by email to electors@brighton-hove.gov.uk

When do I receive my postal vote?

You will receive your postal vote about a week before the election. This should give you enough time to fill out your ballot paper and return it by post to our office before the close of poll on Election Day. Your postal vote is sent to your home address. Your postal vote may even be sent overseas, but this is not recommended as there is very little time for you to receive and return the ballot paper in time for polling day. In these circumstances, you may prefer to appoint a proxy.

Why haven’t I received my postal ballot paper?

You should receive your postal ballot paper about one week before the election.  If it doesn’t arrive, you can apply for a replacement in person from Electoral Services at Brighton Town Hall up until 5pm on Election Day.  You will need to provide proof of identity.

I’ve spoiled my ballot paper / postal voting statement.  What should I do?

You can apply for a replacement up until 5pm on Election Day in person from Electoral Services at Brighton Town Hall.  You will also need to return your spoilt ballot paper and the other parts of the ballot pack that were sent to you.

How do I send back my postal vote?

Postal votes should be returned in the envelopes provided and posted in a Royal Mail Post box. Alternatively you can return it by hand to Brighton or Hove Town Hall or to a polling station within the appropriate electoral area, before the close of poll.

Why do I need to give my date of birth and signature to get a postal or proxy vote?

The Electoral Administration Act 2006 introduced new measures to improve the security of postal and proxy votes which means all postal and proxy voters are now required to give their date of birth and signature when applying for a postal or proxy vote. Your signature and date of birth are separated from your ballot paper before being checked. Giving this information will not affect the secrecy of your vote.

If I have applied for a postal vote, can I still vote at the polling station?

If you have applied to vote by post, you cannot vote in person at the polling station.  However, on Election Day you can return your postal vote to a polling station for your electoral area (before 10pm) or to the Electoral Services office at Brighton Town Hall.

When would I need a proxy vote?

If you are unable to get to the polling station on Election Day, because of ill-health or you are away you can apply for a proxy vote. This is where you appoint somebody to vote for you.

Who can be my proxy?

Anyone who is eligible to vote in the election themselves can be your proxy.  However, you can only be a proxy for up to two people who are not members of your immediate family.  They will be sent details on where to vote on your behalf a week or two before the day of the election.

What happens after I’ve applied for a proxy vote?

Your proxy must go to your local polling station to vote. They 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, which candidate or which party. If you are able to go to the polling station yourself after all, you can still vote in person as long as your proxy has not already done so.

I’ve been made a proxy for someone. What do I need to do?

You will be sent a proxy poll card with details of where you should vote.  If you can’t attend the polling station you can vote by post.  You must apply for this before 5pm on the 11th working day before Election Day.

Can I still vote in person if I have a proxy set up and can make it to my polling station?

You are still able to cast your own vote as long as your proxy has not voted already. If your proxy goes to the polling station after you, he or she will not be allowed to cast your vote again.

Can I have a permanent proxy?

Permanent proxy voting is only available to certain people on the grounds of health, employment or full time education commitments.

When would I need a postal proxy vote?

If your proxy cannot attend your polling station in person for any reason on the day of the election, they can apply to vote by post.

Am I automatically registered on the electoral roll if I pay council tax?

There is no automatic registration, even if people pay council tax. To register to vote, you need to complete a voter registration form.

Can someone find me on the electoral roll if they only have my name?

The Register is not compiled in name order. There are 21 Wards in the city and each of these is sub-divided into Polling Districts. Electors are listed by alphabetical street order within each Polling District. For more information on the choices you have regarding the supply of your details, visit who has my details?