How do I vote?
Changes to Postal and Proxy Voting – Please be Aware.
The changes detailed below are applicable for those electors who are considering applying to vote by post or considering appointing someone to vote on their behalf known as a proxy.
Changes you’ll see to Postal Voting:
You will have the option to apply for a postal vote for Parliamentary and Police and Crime Commissioner elections ONLY via a new central government online system. Electors applying for a postal vote for these two election types will require their identity to be verified with DWP records when applying online but also when applying via a paper application.
Your application for these two election types will cover you for a maximum period of three years. You will need to re-apply by the third 31 January after your application has been granted. A notice informing you of the need to reapply will be sent prior to this.at the end of that time.
At a Parliamentary or Police and Crime Commissioner election, there will also be a limit to how many postal votes an elector can hand in at any polling station or council building. You will be allowed to take your own, and up to five others.
At these two election types, political parties and campaigners will be banned from handling postal vote packs on behalf of electors unless they are handing in their own, a close relative or someone for whom they provide regular care or for whom regular care is provided by an organisation which employs or engages them.
For Senedd and Local Government elections only you will not be able to apply online for a postal vote but will have to complete a paper application. You can request one of these forms from your elections office or go online to download this form from the Electoral Commission website. No ID verification is required for these two election types.
Your application for these two election types can cover you for an indefinite period provided you continue to refresh your signature every five years. A request to refresh your signature will be sent to you by the elections office at the required time.
For electors who have a postal vote in place before 31 October 2023 - you do not need to do anything further. The elections office will contact you when you need to renew your postal votes for each election type.
When do the changes come into force?
- The process for a three yearly application process for postal voters who apply for Parliamentary and Police and Crime Commissioner Elections is expected to begin from October 2023. Electors who have an existing postal vote prior to the changes coming in, will not need to do anything until 31 Jan 2026, however the Elections Team will be in touch with you prior to this date regarding the transitional arrangements
- The rules regarding secrecy and who can handle postal votes for the above election types is expected to be in place for elections taking place on or after 2 May 2024.
- Online absent voting applications and having to apply separately for Senedd and local government elections is expected from October 2023.
Changes you will see to Proxy Voting:
For Parliamentary and Police and Crime Commissioner elections there will be changes to the limit of how many people a voter can act as a proxy for. Currently a person can act as a proxy for an unlimited number of close relatives and two other electors. Under the new rules for these election types, voters would be limited to acting as proxy for four people of whom only two can be domestic electors who live in the UK regardless of their relationship. (or a maximum of 4 people, with 2 people living in the UK and 2 people registered as living overseas).
For Senedd and Local Government elections there is no change to current rules i.e., you can be proxy for no more than two electors except where they are spouse, civil partner, parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child or grandchild of the elector.
When will this change come into force?
It is expected that these changes will come into force from October 23.
For electors that have an appointed proxy in place prior to 31 October 23:
All existing electors (both domestic and overseas) that have a proxy arrangement in place prior to 31 October 2023 will need to reapply by 31 January 2024. The elections team will be in touch with you and give you ample notice and support to update your arrangements.
Near the election date you will be sent an official poll card telling you when Election Day is and where your local polling station is. You can vote there between 7am and 10pm on Election Day. Our staff will be at every polling station to help you with any questions or if you have a disability.
You can choose to vote by post at an election, but you must have completed and returned an application form to Electoral Services by the deadline given on your poll card, the deadline is always the 12th working day before an election.
Instead of going to your polling station you can apply to have a postal vote. Postal Votes are available to everyone and can be sent to any address, even abroad, but do bear in mind that your ballot paper must be returned to us before close of poll on the day of election.
If you are unable to go to the polling station on polling day you can apply to have a proxy vote: this is where you appoint somebody to vote for you. That person then goes along to your polling station and casts your vote.
The closing date for the receipt of your application form is six days before the day of election (excluding weekends and bank holidays). In certain circumstances, where you have an emergency that means you cannot go to the polling station in person, you can apply for an emergency proxy up to 5pm on the day of the poll.
Postal voting by proxy
If your proxy is going to be away from your home on election day, they you can apply for their proxy ballot paper to be posted to them.
The closing date for the receipt of your application form is six days before the day of election (excluding weekends and bank holidays). Request a postal voting by proxy application form by calling us on 01267 228 889.
Returning your application forms
You must return your postal / proxy application forms to the following address:
Electoral Services Unit, Block 4, Parc Myrddin, Richmond Terrace, Carmarthen, SA31 1HQ
Voting and elections should be easily accessible to everyone who has the legal right to vote, whether they have a disability or not. We know that some people will need more support than others to use their vote – and our elections team will be happy to help. For voters with disabilities the Every Vote Counts website is an excellent resource with clear information about the election process, registering to vote and voting in the polling stations.
At the polling station on election day there will be a low-level disabled polling booth suitable for use with a wheelchair. Large print notices of ballot papers will be available to view in every polling station, these can be used as reference, but you must still cast your vote on a standard print ballot paper as required by law. An aid known as a tactile device will be available to enable blind or visually impaired voters to vote without assistance. Please ask staff at the polling station about this device. You will also be able to ask the Presiding Officer (the person in charge of the polling station) to assist you, they are legally bound by the Requirement for Secrecy so your vote will remain secret.
If you, or someone you know, needs help to register or to vote, please contact the elections team on 01267 228889.
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