Register to vote

Find out who can vote, how to register, voting anonymously, re-registering (if you move house or change your name), postal voting and voting on someone else's behalf.

Register to vote at the GOV.UK website

New requirement for voting

The UK Government has introduced a new requirement for voters to show photo ID at a polling stations. To make sure you don't lose your opportunity to vote, it's important to know which forms of photo ID are acceptable. If you do not have suitable photo ID, you can apply for a Voter Authority Certificate.

Who can register to vote?

You can’t vote in an election unless you have registered to do so. If you don’t register, you can’t vote - it’s as simple as that.

The following people are eligible to register to vote:

Special circumstances

You can also register to vote if you:

  • have two or more homes in the UK

  • are a student

  • are in the armed forces

  • live overseas.

Please note: there are certain qualifying criteria for who can vote at what elections.

Please note: If you have registered to vote you must then show your photo ID at the polling station to be able to vote.

How do I register to vote?

Online registration

The way we all register to vote has changed. You can now register to vote online and everyone from the age of 16 is responsible for registering themselves:

GOV.UK - Register to vote (external website)

You will need:

  • your national insurance number (which can be found on your national insurance card, or in official paperwork such as payslips, or letters about benefits or tax credits)

  • your name and address

  • your date of birth.

If you are unable to register online, please contact the electoral services team.

About the Individual Electoral Registration (IER) voting system

The current system is called Individual Electoral Registration (IER). This means that everyone who is eligible to vote must register themselves.

To find out more visit the Your Vote Matters website:

Your Vote Matters (external website)

Can I register to vote anonymously?

If you’re concerned about your own safety or the safety of somebody you live with, you may be able to vote anonymously so your name doesn’t appear on the Register of Electors.

In order to register anonymously, you’ll need supporting evidence such as a court order or an injunction, or written support from a relevant organisation.

Please contact the electoral services team to register anonymously.

How does it work?

If you register anonymously, instead of your name and address appearing on the electoral register a code will be added to the end of the section of the register for your polling district. You should receive polling cards as usual which you will have to take with you on polling day.

Do I need to re-register to vote at upcoming elections?

No. You do not need to re-register to vote if you have already completed your annual canvass form sent to you in July 2023.

You only need to re-register if you move house or change your name since then and not notified Electoral Services.

What do I do if I move house or change my name?

If you move house or change your name you need to register your new address or name via the GOV.UK website:

GOV.UK - Register to vote (external website)

Please note: you'll need to provide your date of birth and your national insurance number (which can be found on your national insurance card, or in official paperwork such as payslips, or letters about benefits or tax credits).

If you are unable to change your details online, please contact the electoral services team.

How do I apply to vote by post?

Overview

Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you’re unable to get to the polling station.

Postal votes are now available on demand without having to give reason, unless your postal vote is being sent to an address other than the one you’re registered at. We can send your ballot paper to any address in the UK or abroad.

New postal vote applications and requests for changes to existing postal votes must be received no later than 5pm, 11 working days before polling day.

If you choose to vote by post, be aware that your postal vote may not be sent out until very close to the election, particularly if you apply close to the deadline. You must take this into consideration if you are away prior to the date of the election or have asked for the postal vote to be redirected abroad.

You can now:

apply for a postal vote online.

As part of the application, you will need:

  • your National Insurance number
  • to upload a copy of your signature.

How postal voting works

Postal votes are sent to all registered postal voters in the two weeks before polling day. We can’t send postal votes out earlier than this, so we advise all postal voters to take into consideration their availability to vote before planning any holidays.

Your postal vote will contain your ballot paper(s) and a ‘Postal Voter’s Statement’, on which you’ll need to provide your date of birth and signature. These details are checked against those provided on your application form, so your postal vote will not be counted if they’re missing or don’t match.

Your postal vote must be completed and returned to us, in the first-class envelope provided, before 10pm on polling day. Any postal votes received after this time can’t be accepted.

Postal votes can be returned in the post, handed in person at the elections office, or handed in at a polling station (providing it is a polling station within your own electoral area, usually within your ward). From May 2024 there will be restrictions on how many postal votes you can hand in in person, and you will be required to complete a form when you do so.

Once your postal vote has been received it will be processed and the personal identifiers checked, before the ballot paper is secured and taken to be included in the count. Your ‘Postal Voter’s Statement’ and ballot paper are handled separately to make your vote anonymous.

Although the postal votes are opened and checked, the ballot papers are handled face down until the start of count following the close of poll, so that it’s not possible to see how the votes have been cast.

You can apply to have a postal vote for:

  • one election day only
  • for a period of time (for example if you will be working away for a period of time)
  • for a period of up to 3 years.

If you want a postal vote long term, you will need to reapply for your postal vote no later than the third 31 January after it was granted. This reapplication process will begin in January 2026, and the Elections Office will send correspondence out to electors to advise them if their postal vote is coming up for re-application.

Completing the application

How you apply for a postal vote has now changed. You must now have your identity verified before we can grant a postal vote. To do this, you need to provide your National Insurance Number which will be used (along with your name and date of birth) to compare against Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) records. This is similar to the process when you register to vote.

If you do not have your National Insurance Number, or if your details do not match against those held by the DWP, then you will be asked to provide further documentary evidence to verify your identity. This can however delay the process.

You need to provide your date of birth and signature on the application. These Identifiers are checked against the same personal identifiers you provide when you return your postal vote. This is to ensure that only you can use the postal vote which was sent to you.

You can now:

apply for a postal vote online.

If you apply online, you will need to upload a copy or image of your signature. To ensure that is accepted, and to make sure it can be matched against the one returned with your postal vote, it should be completed in a dark (preferably black) pen against a white (or very pale) plain background.

After you’ve sent your application

Once the application has been processed, we will send you a letter confirming your postal vote has been accepted. You must check this letter carefully. It’s your responsibility to make sure that all the details are correct. You should contact the elections office immediately if you find something wrong.

If you apply close to the deadline you will receive this confirmation letter sooner than your postal vote.

Personal identifiers

All personal identifiers (personal details) collected upon application for a postal vote will be held securely by us, and will not be used for any purposes other than checking against your Postal Voter’s Statement.

If your postal vote is rejected at an election because the personal identifiers on your Postal Voter’s Statement do not match the one on your original application, we will write to you to let you know after the election. Where there is a discrepancy in the signatures provided, we will give you the opportunity to update the signature we hold for you, to try and prevent this from happening again.

Changing your personal details

Change of address

If you have moved house and reregistered to vote, your postal vote will not automatically move with you. You will need to reapply if you still wish to vote by post.

If you have not moved, but you wish your postal vote to go to a different address than the one you requested originally, you should let us know, in writing, as soon as possible. You must give a reason for requesting that your postal vote is delivered to an alternative address.

If you wish to change your address around the election period, you may find that you receive two postal votes. You must only use the most recent one, as the original one will be cancelled.

Change of name

If you have changed your name, and this affects your signature, you should reapply for a postal vote. This is to ensure we have the most up to date signature on our records, and to make sure that your postal vote is not rejected.

Changing your voting method

If you no longer wish to vote by post, you need to let us know before the deadline, which is 5pm 11 working days before polling day.

After this time you will not be able to change your method of voting and will not be able to vote in the polling station.

You will need to use the postal vote which was sent to you, although you may be able to hand it in at a polling station.

If your postal vote is lost or damaged

If you’ve been granted a postal vote and the voting deadline has passed, you can’t go and vote in person - instead you must use the postal vote that has been sent to you.

If your postal vote has been lost, stolen or damaged, or spoilt, there are certain rules and deadlines which apply regarding obtaining a replacement.

Your vote has been lost or you haven’t received it

If all or part of your postal vote has been lost, or if you have not received it, it is possible to get a replacement. This replacement can’t be issued until 4 working days before polling day. On or after this date, you can collect a replacement postal vote from the elections office , or by having it posted out to you.

You’ll be required to complete a declaration confirming that you’ve lost or not received the postal vote. If you collect the postal vote in person you’ll need to provide identification. If following the reissue of a replacement postal vote you find or receive the original, you should throw it away. It will have been cancelled and won’t be counted even if it’s returned to us.

You’ve spoiled or damaged your postal vote

Please do not destroy or throw away your spoiled or damaged postal vote before contacting the elections office, some postal votes may still be used if spoilt so please contact us for guidance.

If you spoil your postal vote and then correct it, please do not sign the correction as this will then not be counted as a valid ballot as it will have an identifiable mark on the ballot paper.

If you spoil or damage all or part of your postal vote, you can also get a replacement by returning the original postal vote pack. We’ll then be able to issue a replacement. The postal vote can be posted out to you, or you can collect a replacement postal vote from the elections office. A declaration will need to be completed and if the postal vote is collected in person, you will need some ID.

A replacement on the grounds of a postal vote being spoilt or damaged can be requested at any time once the postal vote has been received. If however you do not have the postal vote anymore, for example if you have thrown it away, you will need to wait until 4 working days before polling day, as it we can then treat it as lost” and replace it.

Postal voting for proxy voters

If you have been appointed as a proxy voter and are unable to attend your polling station in person, you can apply to have ballot papers sent to you by post. You must apply for the postal vote, not the person who has appointed you to vote for them.

To request an application for a proxy to vote by post, email electoral.services@eastriding.gov.uk or telephone the helpline on (01482) 393300. You are not able to apply for a postal vote as a proxy online.

It is important to remember that although the deadline to appoint a proxy is 5pm 6 working days before polling day, when the proxy wishes to apply for a postal vote the deadline becomes 5pm 11 working days prior to polling day.

Once you have been granted a postal vote, neither you, nor the person who has appointed you as a proxy, will be able to vote in person at the polling station.

Re-applying for your postal vote

From 31 October it will no longer be possible to have a permanent postal vote. Instead, your postal vote will be in place until the third 31 January after your initial application was granted.

For example, if you apply for a postal vote on 1 January 2024, your postal vote will remain in place until 31 January 2026, unless you cancel it in the meantime. However, if you apply for a postal vote on 1 February 2024, you will need to reapply by 31 January 2027.

We will write to you to advise when your postal vote is due for renewal in advance of this date and remind you that you will need to reapply to be able to keep voting by post.

If you submit another application at some point during the period your postal vote is valid, then the ‘up to 3 years’ period will be based on when your subsequent application was received.

Existing postal voters

If you already had a postal vote in place before 31 October 2023, then you will not be subject to the reapplication process until 31 January 2026. We will write to you in advance of this date to confirm that you need to reapply to carry on voting by post.

How do I apply for a proxy vote (someone else voting on your behalf)?

About proxy voting

If you’re unable to vote in person on polling day, you can appoint someone to vote on your behalf at the polling station.

This is available to anyone unable to attend their polling station on polling day. It’s possible for anyone to apply for a proxy vote at a particular election, if they provide a reason why they’re not able to vote in person themselves on the day of the election.

You can apply for this one off proxy online.

You can appoint a proxy permanently, but only in certain circumstances. You may also need to get your application signed or provide further information in order for your application to be approved. You cannot apply for a long-term proxy online.

Who you should choose?

The person appointed as proxy should be someone you trust. Anyone may be appointed to act as your proxy, providing they are over 18 and registered to vote. They must also be eligible to vote in the election or referendum you want them to vote at on your behalf.

From 31 October 2023 there has been a restriction on the number of people a person may be appointed as a proxy for.

A person may only be appointed to be a proxy for up to four voters, however only a maximum of two of these can be domestic electors (i.e. not people who are registered specifically as Overseas or Service Voters). This is regardless of the relationship the proxy has with the elector.

The appointed proxy must attend your polling station, so make sure that the person you appoint is familiar with where you would normally vote.

If the only person you trust to vote for you is unable to get to your polling station, they can apply for a postal vote.

Existing proxy voters

Due to the change in the rules of how many people a person can be appointed as a proxy for, there will be a requirement for all existing proxy voters to reapply for their proxy vote between 31 October and 31 January 2024.

The Elections Office will write to you between these two dates to advise of what you need to do.

Apply for a one-off proxy vote

It is now possible to apply for a one-off proxy vote (where you appoint someone to vote on your behalf for one election day only) online.

You will need to make sure that your proxy is eligible and has not already been appointed a proxy for the maximum number of people.

As part of your application, you will be required to provide your National Insurance Number, and have a digital copy of your signature.

Poll cards will be sent to the appointed proxy confirming where they need to go to cast your vote in the weeks before the election.

Apply for a permanent proxy vote

You can get a permanent proxy vote if:

  • you’re registered blind or receiving a Higher Disability Living Allowance: you must state the council with which you are registered blind or declare that you receive the higher rate of allowance
  • you’re physically incapacitated: you must have your application form supported by a registered medical practitioner, registered nurse or Christian Science practitioner, provided that person is giving you treatment or care. If you are in a residential home or sheltered housing, then the head of home or warden can support your application (but not a care assistant)
  • you’re unavailable due to your employment: your employer must sign your application. If you are self-employed, indicate this on the form, also your application must be supported by someone who is 18 or over, knows your circumstances, and is not related to you.
  • you’re attending an educational course: each college/institution will have appointed an officer to support applications on these grounds. Check with your college who this person is.

You can obtain an application form by clicking the links above or by contacting the Elections Office directly. From 31 October 2023 you will also need to provide your national insurance number on the application form so that we can verify your identity. It is the Elector who is appointing the proxy who will need to complete and sign the form.

Poll cards will be sent to the appointed proxy confirming where they need to go to cast your vote in the weeks before the election.

How do I apply for an emergency proxy?

An ‘emergency’ proxy vote can only be applied for after 5pm, six working days before the election, for those who could not have applied for an ordinary proxy earlier because of unforeseen health or work reasons.

Please note: an emergency proxy does not include pre-planned hospital admissions or being called away for work at late notice.

An emergency proxy vote must be attested by a qualified person, such as a Doctor or Registered Nurse (for a medical emergency), or your employer (for a work emergency).

Emergency proxy forms are available after 5pm, six working days before the election.

Do I have to re-apply for a postal/proxy vote for each election?

There have been recent changes regarding this, we will get this information up to date as soon as possible.

How do I contact Electoral Services?

You can contact the electoral services team by either:

Upcoming election

The election for the new Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) will be held on 02 May 2024. You can register to vote online until 16 April 2024.

2 May 2024
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