Helping residents understand new changes to postal votes for elections this year


Residents who wish to vote by post at the upcoming elections are being reminded to read about recent changes to absent voting.

New rules around postal voting have come into effect this year, including how often residents need to apply and how their vote is handled. These are as a result of the Elections Act 2022, which has made a number of changes to elections and voting.

Local elections are taking place on Thursday 2 May 2024, where residents can have their say on who the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex will be. The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner has a key role to ensure that the police and fire and rescue services meet the needs of the community.

Absent voting allows people to vote in an election by post or by proxy if they are unable to vote in person at the polling station on the day. The deadline to apply for a postal vote is 5pm on Monday 17 April, and voters should be aware that they need to reapply for a postal vote every three years.

There are new rules regarding how postal votes can be handed in. Voters can only hand in their own postal vote and the postal votes of up to five other people at a polling station.

Residents will now also be required to complete a form when handing in postal votes at a polling station or at the council offices. If residents hand in at council offices, this must be in-person via Reception and not via the post box. If residents do not complete the form, their postal vote, and any others handed in at the same time, will be rejected. If residents post their postal vote via a Royal Mail box, they do not need to fill in an additional form.

The deadline to apply for a proxy vote, appointing someone you trust to vote at a polling station on your behalf, is 5pm on 24 April.

Photo ID continues to be required to vote at a polling station. Residents without suitable photo ID can apply for a voter authority certificate.

Dan Gascoyne, Returning Officer for Braintree District Council, said: “Fundamentally, elections give eligible people the opportunity to exercise their right to vote. We want to make sure all residents understand the changes this year. There are many ways people can vote including by post – it is quick and easy and applications for a voting pack can be done online. For the election on 2 May, make sure you are registered to vote by 16 April and read about the changes to postal votes to ensure you are ready.”

Any residents who have any questions can contact the local elections team at Braintree District Council on 01376 552525 or visit the council website to find out more:

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