Absent voting for service voters
As a service voter you will need to ensure you have an absent vote arrangement in place so that you can vote on Polling Day.
Voting by post
You can choose to receive your vote by post, sent to your current address. If you choose to have a postal vote arrangement then you must ensure the address we have for you is kept up-to-date otherwsie your vote could get sent to an address at which you are no longer based.
The postal ballot papers are sent out around a week and half before the date of the election. This is because the legal timetable for postal voting allows changes to be made to postal vote arrangements up to 11 working days before the election, so we cannot post them out until this deadline has passed.
For this reason, we recommend that you only choose to vote by post if you are based at an address where the postal service will allow you to receive mail, complete it and return it within this week and a half timeframe. You must be aware that you choose this form of absent vote at your own risk, as we cannot guarantee that your postal vote will reach you with enough time for you to complete it and post it back to us by Polling Day.
Voting by proxy
You can choose to appoint a proxy (a trusted friend or relative) to cast your vote for you. As a service voter you are not required to provide any attestation/witness on your application form and you can apply for an arrangement that lasts as long as your declaration is in force (dependant on you renewing it after five years).
The benefit of a proxy arrangement is that there is very little risk of you not being able to vote. 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. 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.
Your proxy can apply to receive your ballot papers through the post for them to complete. In this case they cannot then vote at the Polling Station and you can also not vote at the Polling Station even if you can get there on Polling Day.
We recommend that service voters choose to vote by proxy, firstly to eliminate the risk of a postal vote not reaching them in time to be completed and returned to us, and second because the addresses of service personel often change, which could result in a postal vote going astray.
How to apply:
To apply to vote by post or by proxy you need to complete an application form. A form is included in with your Service Voter Declaration forms, or we can send you a form by post to your registered address. Please contact our Electoral Services Office to request a form.