Skip to main content

How to vote

Vote in person

To be able to vote, you must be on the electoral register. You vote in person at a polling station (usually in a public building, such as a school or local hall).

Your poll card

You'll receive a poll card that includes your name, address and elector number.

It will tell you:

  • the date of the election
  • polling hours (polling hours are between 7am and 10pm)
  • the location of your polling station (you can only vote at the polling station on your card).

If you have not received a poll card but think you should, email or call 01752 304866. You can still vote if you have lost your card.

When you get to a polling station

Tell the staff in the polling station your name and address and give them your eligible Voter ID document (see section below). They will check you're registered, mark their register and give you a ballot paper.

Voter ID

From 4 May 2023, everyone voting at a polling station will need to show a form of photo ID. This will apply to:

  • Local elections
  • Police and Crime Commissioner elections
  • UK parliamentary by-elections
  • Recall petitions
  • From October 2023 it will also apply to UK General elections

Visit our Voter ID page for more information.

Filling in your ballot paper

Follow the instructions on the notices in the polling booth and on the top of the ballot paper to vote. You should put no other mark on the ballot paper or your vote may not be counted. Fold the ballot paper in two and post in the ballot box.

Vote by proxy

If you’re unable to vote in person you can ask someone to vote on your behalf. This is called a proxy vote.

How long is your proxy vote for

You can apply to vote by proxy:

  • for a single election on a specific date
  • for a specific period
  • permanently

Who can act as a proxy

You can ask anyone to act as your proxy - as long as they:

  • are registered to vote
  • are allowed to vote in the type of election taking place
  • can vote in the polling station stated on your poll card

If they would prefer to exercise their proxy role by post, then they will need to apply to vote by post as proxy.

Apply for a proxy vote

Proxy voting application forms must be received by 5pm, six working days before polling day.

Return your completed application form by either:

  • Email:
  • Post:
    The Electoral Registration Office
    Plymouth City Council
    Ballard House
    West Hoe Road
    PL1 3BJ

Change or cancel your proxy vote

You can change or cancel your proxy vote before 5pm, 11 working days before an election.
This includes:

  • Changes of address for delivery of ballot paper
  • Cancellation of a postal vote
  • Change from proxy to postal

Emergency Proxy Vote

In certain circumstances, where you have an emergency that means you can't vote in person, you can apply for an emergency proxy.

This must be something that you weren't aware of before the normal proxy vote deadline, usually 5pm, 6 working days before the election. Emergency proxy applications can be made up to 5pm on polling day.

Circumstances where you may be able to apply for an emergency proxy include:

  • You have a medical emergency
  • You are away for employment reasons
  • Your photo ID is lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed

Vote by post

If you know that you won’t be able to get to the polling station on polling day, you can vote by post.

You can apply for a postal vote if you’re away on holiday or because your work schedule means you can't get to polling station. You can also choose to vote by post simply because it would be more convenient for you.

You will be sent a postal vote ballot pack before the election.

Apply for a postal vote

There are two ways to apply to vote by post:

You can apply for a postal vote for a specific day, particular time period or for a maximum of three years. You need to complete a new postal vote application if you have moved house.

However you apply, your application must be received by 5pm, 11 working days before the poll.

Information you must provide when filling in your application

Instructions on how to complete the application correctly are provided on both the online and paper forms. 

However you apply you will need to provide your date of birth, National Insurance number and signature on your application form. These are used to confirm your identity when you vote by post.

If you’re unable to provide your National Insurance number, you will need to explain why in your application. Contact us to discuss which other forms of identification you will need to provide.

If you are unable to sign the form or are unable to sign in a consistent way please contact us at or phone weekdays between 9am and 5pm on 01752 304866.

Submit your completed and signed application to us by 5pm, 11 working days before the poll

Email a scanned copy or photo of your completed form to


Post to:

The Electoral Registration Office
Plymouth City Council
Ballard House
West Hoe Road

Change or cancel your postal vote

You can change or cancel your postal vote before 5pm, 11 working days before an election.

This includes:

  • Changes of address for delivery of ballot paper
  • Cancellation of a postal vote
  • Change from postal to proxy

If you wish to cancel your postal vote, please submit a request in writing to either or Electoral Registration Office, Plymouth City Council, Ballard House, West Hoe Road, Plymouth, PL1 3BJ.

Replace a lost or damaged ballot paper

By law a replacement postal ballot pack can only be issued from 4 working days before polling day up until 5pm on polling day.

If a ballot paper or postal vote statement has been spoilt then it can be corrected without the need for a replacement to be issued, by crossing out the error and making the required correction, ensuring the elector’s voting intention is clear.

If you do need to request a replacement then from 4 working days before polling day up until 5pm on polling day, please contact us by emailing or calling 01752 304866.

Electors who must bring proof of identity can collect a replacement up to 5pm on election day from:

The Electoral Registration Office
Plymouth City Council
Ballard House
West Hoe Road

You cannot vote at a polling station if you registered to vote by post but your ballot paper was lost or damaged.

Voting if you have a disability

Plymouth City Council offers a range of support to disabled voters, including voters with a learning disability.

Our polling stations:

  • have doorbells at the entrance where wheelchair accessibility is not possible - the polling station staff will attend and assist electors activating the doorbell
  • have ramps where needed
  • have large print versions of the ballot paper

You are welcome to bring someone you trust to the polling station to help you complete your ballot paper.

Voters with a visual impairment

Tactile voting device

Each polling station will have a tactile voting device. This is a plastic device that is fixed onto the ballot paper so visually impaired people or those with limited dexterity can mark their ballot paper in secret. Please ask the polling station staff if you need to use the device.

Large print version of the ballot paper

Large print versions of the ballot paper will be available in the polling station. You can take a copy to the polling booth with you. You can't vote on the large print version but it can be used for reference.

Guides for voters with a learning disability

Any person, including those with a learning disability and/or autism or dementia, has the legal right to vote in local and general elections and should be supported to be able to do so. Some people may struggle with the registration process while others may find challenges when going to a polling station or submitting their postal vote.

Visit My Vote My Voice for more information and guidance.

Support from the Presiding Officer

You can also ask the Presiding Officer to assist in casting your vote. The polling station staff are legally bound by the Requirement for Secrecy and your vote will remain secret.

If you know which candidate you wish to vote for, you can instruct the Presiding Officer in the privacy of the polling booth, they will mark the ballot paper(s) according to your instructions.