Plan ahead for voting

What to do if you know that you are unable to get to a polling station on election day.

Apply for a postal or proxy vote 

If you know that you will be unable to get to your polling station on election day, you can apply for a postal or proxy vote. You must arrange this by the deadline for the election. It can be set up as a permanent option. 

You must be registered to vote to apply for a postal or proxy vote.

You can scan completed application forms and email them to Or, you can post your form to Electoral Services, Hove Town Hall, Norton Road Hove, BN3 3BQ. 

Absent vote signature refresh   

Every year, we must ask electors who applied for a postal or a proxy vote more than five years ago to provide a new signature.  

When we send your postal vote at an election, you must complete your signature and date of birth on the postal voting statement. We check these against the ones provided on your application or refresh form. This is to ensure that your vote is not used by anyone else.  These details are not used for any other purpose. 

Updating your signature, during the absent vote refresh, ensures that we are comparing your signature with an up to date example 

Find out more about who will receive the signature refresh form, why we need to update your signature and how to fill it in

Voting if you are outside of the UK 

We can send your postal voting pack to an overseas address - but we do not recommend this. The election timetable means there is little time for you to receive and return the ballot paper. If you live outside of the UK you may prefer to appoint a proxy. 

Voting with your postal ballot 

Please send your postal vote back to us as soon as you can, in the envelope provided. If you do not post it in time, you can hand in your postal vote to any Brighton & Hove polling station on the day of the election. 

To prevent fraud, if you register for a postal vote you will not be able to get a ballot paper from the polling station. You must use the ballot paper that came with your postal ballot pack. 

Cancel your postal vote

Please send us an email or letter to cancel your postal vote. Once we cancel your postal vote you will vote at your designated polling station.  

Postal proxy voting 

If your appointed proxy cannot visit your polling station in Brighton & Hove then they can cast your vote by post. For more information, please contact the Electoral Services Office on 01273 291999 or email

Emergency proxy voting 

If after the proxy deadline, you become unable to visit your polling station then you may be able to apply for an emergency proxy. The reason for being unable to attend must be a work or medical emergency. 

You can apply for an emergency proxy vote up to 5pm on the day of election. 

Find out who can apply for an emergency proxy vote and how on the electoral commission website

If you believe your circumstances mean that you qualify for an emergency proxy vote please call Electoral Services on 01273 291999. 

More information 

For more information on postal and proxy voting, please see our frequently asked questions on voting and elections