Voting - polling stations, postal votes, proxy votes and Armed Forces

Absent voters signature refresh - January 2017

Absent voters (those who vote by post or proxy) have to provide a signature and their date of birth when they first apply.

If you vote by post at an election, you have to provide your signature and date of birth on a postal voting statement. These 'personal identifiers' are checked against those provided on the original postal vote application form, to ensure that they match. This helps to prevent anyone else from using the vote fraudulently. If the identifiers do not match, the vote cannot be counted. Personal identifiers are always kept separate from the ballot paper, so no-one knows how a particular person has voted.

Since people's signatures and circumstances can change over time, an important part of these security measures is providing a fresh specimen signature every 5 years. By law, the Electoral Registration Officer has to carry out an annual “refresh” of signatures.

Timescales

In January, we will be undertaking this refresh across our electorate.

If you receive a form, please make sure you sign and return it as soon as possible. Legally, we must send a reminder 3 weeks later to everyone who does not respond and it will reduce the cost to taxpayers if as many forms as possible are returned before that stage is reached.

If you're disabled

If you have a disability which means that you either cannot provide a signature or sign in a consistent and distinctive way, please indicate this on the form.

If you don't want to vote by post anymore

If you no longer want to vote by post please tick the relevant box on the form and return it to us as soon as possible in order to avoid unnecessary reminders.

If you don't respond in time

If you do not return the signature refresh form by the deadline your existing absent vote facility will be cancelled and you will have to vote in person or make a new application.

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