If you are registered to vote we will send you a poll card as soon as possible after an election is announced. The poll card will confirm:
- your details on the electoral register;
- the date of polling day; and
- which polling station you can vote at on polling day.
However, at some parish or town council by-elections, that council may decide that they do not want poll cards issued.
Please note. If you change your registration details during the election period, this may affect your entitlement to vote at the election. The poll card may no longer be valid.
Please take your poll card with you to the polling station. It will help our staff to find your name on the electoral register.
Electors can still vote without their poll card if their name is on the register at the polling station.
You may wish to bring a pen or pencil with you to make your vote.
On arrival at your polling station, the presiding officer will ask you to state your name and address. They will then issue you with a ballot paper marked with the official imprint.
Take the ballot paper to one of the voting booths. Mark an "X" in the box on the right hand side of the paper. This should be against the name of the candidate(s) you wish to vote for. The maximum number of candidates you can vote for is at the top of the ballot paper.
If you make a mistake or spoil your paper, you can take it back to the presiding officer and ask for another.
When you are happy with your vote, fold the ballot paper and put it into the ballot box.
You can view a map of the polling districts in Cornwall using our online mapping system.
If you are going to be away from home during an election and would like a postal vote, please check with us first. You should ensure there is enough time for you to receive and return your ballot paper by polling day. If we receive your postal vote after 10pm on polling day, your vote will not be counted.
If you apply to vote by post, you will not be able to vote at the polling station. You will receive a poll card to inform you that you have a postal vote.
Please note: If you have already arranged a postal vote for all elections and referendums, you do not need to reapply. If in doubt, please contact us to check.
Applying for a postal vote
Applications for a postal vote can be for a single election, for a specified period, or permanently.
The deadline for applications is 5pm, 11 working days before an election. This excludes Saturdays, Sundays, Good Friday and any other bank holiday.
You don’t have to wait for an election to be announced. You can apply for a postal vote at any time before the deadline.
All applications to vote by post must be sent to our office address by the relevant deadline for the election. We can also accept a completed application form (pdf only) by e-mail to our e-mail address below. Our contact details are the bottom of this page.
By law, you can’t sign an application on behalf of another elector, even if you have Power of Attorney.
Please be aware that to vote by post you must be registered to vote.
Change or cancel a postal vote
The deadline for changes to an existing postal vote is also 5pm, 11 working days before an election.
If you want to cancel your postal vote, you must do so by the above deadline. We will only accept a cancellation request:
- by post
- by e-mail
- by phone
- from the elector only.
If we cancel your postal vote, we will write to you confirming the cancellation and that you should now vote in person.
If you make a new application, this will replace your old arrangement.
To re-instate your previous absent vote you will have to complete a new application form.
How voting by post works
A postal vote can be sent to your home address or any other address you specify.
If your application is successful, you will be sent a letter confirming this.
Postal votes are usually sent out 10 days before the date of the election.
Postal votes can be posted back to us or returned by hand to our offices or a polling station before the close of poll.
If you have not received your postal vote or have spoilt it, please contact us.
A replacement can be issued from our electoral services office up until 5pm on polling day. You will need to provide proof of identity to collect your replacement postal vote.
Postal votes have to be received at our offices or a polling station by the close of poll on polling day. Our address is in our contact details below.
If you live overseas permanently, you will need to register as an overseas elector.
If you have been sent a postal vote, you cannot vote in person at a polling station.
For more information, please go to the Electoral Commission website.
Covid-19 : Voters who have tested positive for COVID-19, or are self-isolating, can apply for an emergency proxy vote at short notice up until 5pm on polling day. Voters can also change their proxy if their existing proxy is unable to go to the polling station due to coronavirus. You can also continue to apply to vote by post.
Voting by proxy means you can appoint someone to vote for you at your polling station. You will need to tell your proxy which candidate(s) you wish to vote for.
Your proxy will normally be required to vote in person at your local polling station in the area where you are registered to vote.
If your proxy cannot get to your polling station, they can apply to vote by post. However, if they chose this option, they will not then be able to vote in person.
All applications to vote by proxy must be sent by the relevant deadline for the election. Our address is below.
Who can be my proxy?
Your proxy must be registered as an elector themselves. They must also be eligible to vote at the election that you want to vote in.
Your proxy can be a friend or a close relative. A close relative is defined as your:
- civil partner
A proxy can only act as a proxy for up to two people who are not close relatives.
When can I apply for a proxy vote?
You can apply for a proxy vote at any time until 5pm, six working days before an election. You don’t have to wait for an election to be announced to apply.
If you change your mind and wish to vote in person, you can still do so, providing that your proxy has not already voted on your behalf.
Voting by proxy for a single election
You have to provide a reason to vote by proxy for a single election.
Voting by proxy for all elections
You can only vote by proxy on an indefinite basis for the following reasons:
- overseas voter;
- working overseas for the British Council or as a Crown servant;
- serving in the Armed Forces.
Please go to the Electoral Commission website to download the relevant proxy application form available for the above categories.
Change or cancel a proxy vote
If you want to change or cancel an existing proxy voting arrangement, the deadline is 5pm, 11 working days before an election.
If you want to cancel your proxy vote, you must do so by the above deadline. We will only accept a cancellation request:
- by post
- by e-mail
- by phone
- from the elector only.
If we cancel your proxy vote, we will write to you and your proxy confirming the cancellation.
Once you make a new application this will replace your old arrangement. If you wish to re-instate your previous absent vote you will have to complete a new application form.
You cannot sign a proxy vote application on behalf of another elector, even if you have Power of Attorney.
If an elector cannot sign the form due to a disability or is unable to read or write, please contact us.
Emergency proxy voting
If you have a medical emergency six working days or less before the election, you can apply for an emergency proxy vote. You can apply to vote by emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day.
Your application to vote by emergency proxy must be supported by a doctor, registered state nurse, or Christian science practitioner. One of these must sign your application.
Download a medical emergency proxy form
Emergency Covid proxy
If you develop symptoms of Covid-19 or are told to self-isolate before the elections, it is really important that you stay at home. Do not go to the polling station.
Anyone who develops symptoms, or is asked to self-isolate shortly before polling day, has up to 5pm on polling day to apply for an emergency proxy vote. This allows them to nominate someone they trust to vote on their behalf.
You must submit your application form before 5pm on polling day.
Emergency occupation or employment reasons
If you cannot attend the polling station in person due to
- your occupation, service or employment, and
- you only become aware of this after 5pm on the sixth working day before an election,
you can apply to vote by emergency proxy up until 5pm on polling day.
If you are self-employed, your application must be supported by a person aged 18 years or over who knows you and is not your:
- civil partner
- child or
If you are a member of the Armed Forces, a Crown servant, a British Council employee and you are registered as a service voter, you do not need support for your application.
Similarly, if you are the spouse or civil partner of one of the above and you are registered as a service voter, you do not need support for your application.
If you are registered as an ordinary elector, you will need support from your employer or another authorised person at your workplace.
Registering to vote
You can help someone with a physical disability who cannot write or type. You can type for them as long as they are present and can communicate that the information provided on the application is true.
Applications ask for the individuals date of birth and National Insurance number. You may need to make extra effort to obtain this information. For example, you may need to speak to a relative to obtain it.
Voting by post
A person who is applying to vote by post, or who already votes by post, and is unable to sign or to provide a signature in a consistent way can apply for a ‘signature waiver’ by contacting the elections team.
Voting at a polling station
If someone needs help to cast their vote, they can take a companion with them to assist them or ask the presiding officer for help.
There will be large print versions of the ballot paper on display. A ‘tactile’ voting device will also be available to help blind and partially sighted voters complete their ballot paper at all polling stations.
If voters require support, the presiding officer can read out the candidates’ names and help the voter mark the ballot paper.