With elections taking place across Great Britain on 6 May, Royal Mail and the Electoral Commission are encouraging those voting by post not to delay in sending back their packs once they have made their decision.
People who have registered for a postal vote are being reminded to post their completed ballot paper as early as they can, ahead of the latest recommended posting date of 4 May.
While it is still safe to visit a local polling station, the ongoing impact of the pandemic means that postal voting has become a popular choice for many voters. Royal Mail and the Electoral Commission are reminding voters who have received their postal ballot pack and made their decision, to return it early to help spread the volume. Royal Mail colleagues are looking out for the ballot packs and postal votes which are marked by a purple flash to help identify them in the sortation and delivery process
Postal voters will be able to make use of Royal Mail’s extensive post box network when they are returning their completed ballot paper, including 35,000 priority postboxes designed to aid the Government’s coronavirus testing programme. As well as offering later collection times on a Saturday, 15,000 of them offer collection on a Sunday. The nearest special post box to you can be found using this link https://www.royalmail.com/services-near-you#/.
Voters should post their ballot paper by a latest recommended posting date of 4 May to ensure they can be counted. Postal votes can also be handed into polling stations and local authorities up until 10pm on 6 May.
Royal Mail is due to run a special postmark on stamped mail as a further reminder to post early on 3 May and 4 May.
David Gold, Director of External Affairs & Policy, Royal Mail said: “Given the ongoing impact of the pandemic, we recognise the vital role postal votes have to play in the upcoming May 6 elections. Do look out for your ballot pack – with its distinctive purple flash – and post as early as you can to make sure your vote is safely counted.”
Craig Westwood, Director of Communications, Policy and Research, at the Electoral Commission said: “Absent voting is likely to play an important role in the May elections given the public health situation. Postal ballots are now being sent out to people that have applied for one. We are encouraging those that have already decided how they will vote, not to wait until the deadline and to complete and return their postal pack as soon as they are ready.”
For more information visit: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voter/voting-person-post-or-proxy/voting-post
Completing your ballot paper
Read the instructions carefully
Read the ballot paper carefully. Different elections might use different electoral systems, so it's important to make sure you know how to fill it in correctly. Some elections ask for one cross in one box, and others might ask you to rank candidates with numbers.
Complete the ballot paper in line with the instructions. Make sure you do it alone and in secret.
Make sure it's signed and sealed
Once you've completed your ballot paper, put it in the smaller envelope and seal it up. Next, complete and sign the postal voting statement, and put everything inside the big envelope and seal it all up.
Keep it somewhere safe until you're ready to post it.
Returning your postal vote
When you're ready to return your postal vote, take it to the post box yourself.
If you can't post it yourself, you can either ask someone you know and trust to post it for you, or you can contact your local authority to ask if they can collect it from you.
Avoid asking a candidate or party worker to post it for you.
Your postal vote needs to be with your local authority by 10pm on polling day to be counted.
If you can't post your postal vote pack in time, you can take it your polling station or to your local authority on polling day.
Elections taking place on 6 May 2021 include:
- Senedd Cymru / Welsh Parliamentary
- Scottish Parliamentary
- English local government elections (includes polls postponed from May 2020), including elections to county, district and parish councils
- Police and Crime Commissioners (polls postponed from May 2020)
- Combined Authority Mayoral (includes polls postponed from May 2020)
- Local Mayoral (includes polls postponed from May 2020)
- Mayor of London and London Assembly (polls postponed from May 2020)