Postal/Proxy Vote Signature Refresh

Absent Voters (i.e. those who vote by post or proxy) are required to provide a signature and date of birth when they first apply.

When you are sent your postal vote for an election you are required to provide your signature and date of birth on a postal voting statement. These 'personal identifiers' are checked against those provided on your original postal vote application form, to ensure that they match. This is to prevent someone else from using your vote. If they do not match, your vote cannot be counted. Your personal identifiers are always kept separate from your ballot paper, so no-one knows how you have voted.

An important part of these security measures is providing a fresh specimen signature every 5 years, as people's signatures and circumstances can change over time. This helps to maintain as accurate a record as possible and potentially limits the number of postal votes that are rejected due to mismatched identifiers.

What to do if you are sent a signature refresh form

Please make sure you sign and return this as soon as possible as legally we must send a reminder 3 weeks after the first form to everyone who does not respond.

If you have a disability which means that you either cannot provide a signature or sign in a consistent and distinctive way, please contact us.

If you no longer want to vote by post/proxy you must respond by ticking the box alongside “I no longer want to vote by post/proxy” on the form and return it to us as soon as possible in order to avoid any unnecessary reminders.

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

This Absent Vote signature refresh exercise is undertaken every January for records that have reached 5 years old.