How to Vote

You can vote at elections only if your name appears on the electoral register and you are eligible to vote at the election taking place. 

Voting at a polling station

You can go along to your local Polling Station and vote in person as long as you are on the Register of Electors. 

About three or four weeks before an election you will receive your polling card in the post. On this card you will find details of when, where and how to vote. It is easier if you take this with you when you vote although you can vote without it.

At the polling station the Poll Clerk will ask you to verbally state your name and address. This verbal affirmation that you are who you say you are. It is an offence to give false information and may result in prosecution.

You will then receive a ballot paper which will state how many candidates you can vote for. Simply take the ballot paper to a polling booth and put a cross next to the candidate or candidates you wish to vote for.

Do not write anything else on the paper or you risk your vote not being counted. Fold the ballot paper to hide you vote, show the folded paper to the clerk and put it in the ballot box. You do not have to tell anyone who you voted for.

To find out where your local Polling Station is please contact the Elections Section at the Council on 01495 762200, by email at voting@torfaen.gov.uk, or in person at the Civic Centre in Pontypool.

Voting by post

You can vote by post if you can’t or don’t want to go to a Polling Station. 

To apply to vote by post at a specific election or all future elections, you need to complete a form and return it to the Council. A copy of the Postal Vote Application Form can be downloaded from the About My Vote website or can be obtained by contacting the Elections Section, or in person at the Civic Centre in Pontypool or the Customer Care Centre in Cwmbran Library. You can apply to vote by post now.

Please remember to return the signed form in the post or by hand, as we need your signature on paper.

Who can vote by post?

Anyone can vote by post, as long as they’re on the Register of Electors. 

Voting by post is particularly useful for people who are on holiday on the day of the election, people who have moved house (see also how to register if you have moved house), people who are physically unable to get to a Polling Station, or anyone who just wants to vote by post!

How does postal voting work?

Your ballot paper, together with a postal vote statement, will be sent to your registered address a week or so before an election.

You will need to provide your date of birth and signature on the statement, complete your vote in the normal way by marking a cross and return the statement and ballot paper in the pre paid envelope provided.

We will then match your date of birth and signature against the details previously supplied on your application form to prevent fraud and to protect your vote. If there is a genuine reason why you cannot provide your normal signature you may be granted a waiver but you will still need to supply your date of birth.

If you decide to register as a postal voter you cannot, under any circumstances, vote in person at a polling station. However, you can hand deliver your postal vote to the polling station on polling day.

Voting by proxy

Proxy voting means having someone to vote on your behalf. This can either be in person at your usual Polling Station or by post. 

Anyone can be your proxy as long as they are eligible to vote in UK elections and they are willing to vote on your behalf.

How do I apply to vote by proxy?

To apply to vote by proxy you need to complete a form and return it to the Council. You can apply to vote by proxy here or a form can be obtained by contacting the Elections Section, or in person at the Civic Centre in Pontypool or the Customer Care Centre in Cwmbran Library.

Fill in the form and make sure you sign it. Your proxy can also sign the form, but they do not have to. 

Return your completed form to the Electoral Registration Office, Torfaen County Borough Council, Civic Centre, Pontypool, NP4 6YB so it arrives at least six working days before the election.

What happens after I've applied?

Your proxy must go to your local polling station to vote. If your proxy cannot get to the polling station, they can apply to vote for you by post. They can apply to do this up to 11 days before election day. Your electoral registration office can give you more details about this. Your proxy will be sent a proxy poll card, telling them where and when to vote. 

You must let your proxy know how you want them to vote on your behalf, for example, which candidate or which party. 

If you are able to go to the polling station on election day, you can still vote in person as long as your proxy has not already done so or has not applied to vote by post for you.

Who can vote by proxy?

You can apply for a proxy vote as long as you are on the electoral register. When you apply for a proxy vote you have to provide a reason. You can apply for a proxy vote if:

  • You are unable to go to the polling station for one particular election, for example, if you are away on holiday
  • You have a physical condition that means you cannot go to the polling station on election day
  • Your employment means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day
  • Your attendance on an educational course means that you cannot go to the polling station on election day
  • You are a British citizen living overseas
  • You are a crown servant or a member of Her Majesty's Armed Forces

Except if you are registered blind, you may have to get someone to support your application to confirm that your reason for applying to vote by proxy is valid. Read the notes that accompany the application form to find out if you need to get someone to support your application and who can do it. 

The deadline for applying to vote by proxy is normally 6 working days before an election. However, if you have a medical emergency 6 days before election day or after, you can apply to vote by emergency proxy if the emergency means that you cannot go to the polling station in person.

Young voters

Turning 18 brings with it new rights and responsibilities, including being eligible to vote for the first time.

By registering to vote, you will get an important say on your future. Having reached 18, there's no better way to change things. You will be able to vote at Local Government, European and Parliamentary elections.

Find out more about registering your vote and how the elections process works using the following links:

  • Register to vote
  • Upcoming elections you can vote on
  • Voting at a polling station
  • Voting by post
  • Voting by proxy

As a young voter you are encouraged to check the register to ensure you are listed, especially as it is most likely that someone else has completed the ‘household enquiry form’ sent to your home. If your name is not listed or you are unsure if you are registered, you can register online.

Being registered to vote is important because it proves where you live, which is something essential when you apply for a student loan, a bank account, or even a mobile phone.

Register to vote if you're a student

If you're a student with a home address and a term-time address, you can register to vote from both addresses, as long as they're not both in the area covered by Torfaen County Borough Council.

At local council elections you can vote in both places. In a general election or European election you must choose to vote in one place only.

Last Modified: 05/12/2018
For more information contact:

Electoral Registration

Tel: 01495 762200

Email: voting@torfaen.gov.uk

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