Applying for a postal vote

Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you do not want to vote in person at a polling station.

Voting by post is an easy and convenient way of voting if you do not want to vote in person at a polling station.

Postal vote changes

Changes were implemented to the postal vote processes in the UK, on 31 October 2023.

  • Voters can apply online to vote by post.
  • Voters need to prove their identity when applying to vote by post, with their national insurance number and date of birth.
  • Voters need to reapply for a postal vote every three years.

The easiest way to apply for a postal vote is to apply online.

You can apply for a postal vote at any time and if you wish you can apply for a permanent postal vote for all elections.

When an election is declared there will be a deadline for postal vote applications specific to that election. This is usually 11 working days before the poll.

Application forms 

Whilst the quickest way to apply for a postal vote is online, if for any reason you are unable to apply online, you can download an application form online.

You can return your form by email to or post to:

Electoral Services,
Rowan House,
Sheepen Road,
CO3 3WG 

If you need any assistance or need us to post you a hard copy of the application form, contact us

Postal vote mailing

Postal votes are sent via Royal Mail and they are dispatched as soon as practicable after the close of nominations when all the candidates for an election are confirmed.

Returning your postal vote

Postal votes should be returned as soon as possible and need to be received by 10pm on the day of poll to be counted at that election.

In a hurry? You may want to return your postal vote using one of Royal Mail's priority postboxes. You can find your nearest box by searching for services near you.

Find your nearest priority postbox

Returning your postal vote by hand

A postal vote return form must be completed if you choose to the hand your postal vote in by hand. 

If you choose to hand your postal vote in, you need to do so at Colchester Town Hall. On the day of the election, you also have the option to hand your postal vote in at a polling station within the electoral area.

People handing in postal votes are limited to handing in no more than five postal votes for other electors, plus their own postal vote, per election.

Page last reviewed: 9 November 2023


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