Postal votes

If you can't vote at a polling station, or you don't want to, find out what a postal vote is and how to apply for one.

What a postal vote is

A postal vote is a vote you return by post. 

You can apply for a postal vote if:

  • you can't get to the polling station on the day of the election
  • you don't want to go to the polling station

We send your voting papers to you in the post before the election. You complete your papers at home, and then post them back to us. You can also hand them in at your polling station on the day of the election.

The signature you provide on your postal vote application must be the same as the signature you provide when you vote. If the signatures do not match, then we will reject your vote.

How to get a postal vote

Apply online

There is an online portal on the GOV.UK website where you can apply for a postal vote

Apply online for a postal vote

You can also:

Postal vote deadlines for the elections on 2 May 2024

The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on Wednesday 17 April.

How long does my postal vote last?

For postal vote applications from 31 October 2023 onwards, your postal vote lasts for 3 years. After 3 years, you will need to apply again.

If you are an existing postal voter, your postal vote remains valid for any elections held in May 2024. You will need to reapply for your postal vote by 31 January 2026. Our Elections Team will write to you in 2025 to tell you that you need to reapply. 

Verifying your identity

Your identity needs to be verified for both online and paper applications. You will need to provide your National Insurance Number (NINO). This is then checked against data held by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

If your identity can't be verified this way, our Elections Team might ask you for additional information.

If you don't have a National Insurance Number, you may be able to verify your identity another way. 

Alternatively, there is a process where you can get someone to verify your identity.

Where do I send my postal vote application form?

Once you have completed your postal vote application form, please send it to:

Elections Team, Blackburn Town Hall, King William Street, Blackburn, BB1 7DY

Postal vote handling and secrecy

From May 2024, there are changes to the way postal votes are handled:

  • political campaigners are not allowed to handle postal packs. The only exception to this is if the postal vote is their own, or belongs to a close family member or someone they provide regular care for
  • you will only be allowed to hand in a maximum of 5 postal ballot packs at Polling Stations and council offices. This is in addition to your own
  • if you hand postal votes in at Polling Stations or Blackburn Town Hall, you will need to complete a declaration form. You can no longer hand postal votes in at Darwen Town Hall