How to vote

Information about how and where to vote

How to vote

Poll Cards

Poll cards are delivered to all eligible electors. This card is for information only. Don’t worry if you lose it or forget it – you can still vote without it as long as your name is on the electoral register. You can look up your address to find out where your polling station is on our interactive map.

Voting at a polling station

There will be at least two members of staff in the polling station you’ll need to vote in. Some polling stations may have changed, please check your poll card carefully.

You’ll be asked for your name and address, and when your details have been verified you will be given a ballot paper. A mark will be made against your name on the list to show that you have voted. You will not be able to vote again in the same election.

There will be a notice in the polling booth indicating how many candidates you may vote for. If you vote for more candidates than you are entitled to your vote will not be counted.

If you make a mistake, ask a staff member for a replacement ballot paper.

After casting your vote, place your marked ballot paper in the ballot box, which will be situated near to staff.

Details of the results will be posted online and at our council offices.

We take proactive steps to ensure that polling stations don’t disadvantage disabled people. You can also download an Easy read guide to elections

To vote by post at any election we must receive your application at the very latest by 5 pm on the eleventh working day before the election.

It is your responsibility to post it back in time to reach us before the close of poll on election day. A pre-paid envelope to return your vote will also be included if your address is within the UK. If your vote is being sent abroad, you need to pay the return postage.

What if im living away from the address where im registered?

You can have your postal vote sent to any address you want, so long as you have told us in advance. People living overseas can have their postal vote sent to them, but they may not be able to get it back in time to be counted in the election (overseas voters may be better applying for a proxy vote by appointing someone to vote for them).

What if I do not receive my ballot paper?

If you have not received your ballot paper by the fourth working day before election day, you can ask us to give you a replacement ballot paper – but we can only do this up to 5pm on the day of the election. We will ask you for proof of identity. Because of the short timescale and the need for proof of identity, you will normally have to come to the council offices to collect a replacement ballot paper

What if I spoil my ballot paper?

If you fill in your ballot paper incorrectly and you want us to replace it you must contact us and bring it to the council offices, together with all the other documents we sent with it, and ask us to give you a new ballot paper. You must do this by 5pm on the day of the election at the latest. You may not have time to send it back by post.

Can I cancel my postal vote?

Yes, but you must tell us in writing. We need to receive this at least 11 days before an election or you will still get your postal vote and not be able to vote at a polling station at that election.

To apply

Applications to vote by post can be made for a single election, for a specified period or permanently.

You can download and complete a postal vote application form here.

The form must be printed and signed before being sent to us:

Post to:

Electoral Registration Officer
Thanet District Council
Cecil Street
Kent  CT9 1XZ

Fax to: (01843) 290906

Or email to: electoral.services@thanet.gov.uk


Your application must provide the reason why you are unable to vote in person.

The appointed person must be 18 or over on the date of the election, and either a citizen from the UK, a qualifying commonwealth country, the Republic of Ireland or a member of the European Union. They must be willing to vote at your polling station.

As a proxy, you can only vote on behalf of two people at any election, unless they are close family members.

How long does my proxy vote last?

You have three choices:

  • You can apply to keep your proxy vote for all future elections until you tell us to cancel it (but only if you are applying on the grounds of disability or blindness, or your long-term employment prevents you getting to a polling station, or you are living abroad)
  • You can ask for a proxy vote for one particular election only (for example, if you would normally prefer to go to the polling station but you will be away on holiday that day)
  • You can ask for a proxy vote for a particular period (for example, if your work is taking you away from home for several months and you want to vote in any elections that take place in that time).

How does my proxy vote for me?

If you qualify, we record on the electoral register that you want to vote by proxy.

Shortly before an election, we send your proxy a Proxy Poll Card giving them your registration details and authority to vote on your behalf.

Your proxy will have to go to your polling station on election day with the proxy poll card and ask for a ballot paper to vote on your behalf. The presiding officer will know that you have appointed a proxy because the register will be marked to show this. Your proxy will be given your ballot paper and can cast your vote. It is up to you to tell your proxy who to vote for.

You must be able to trust that they will follow your instructions.

Can I still vote if I have appointed a proxy?

Yes, so long as you get to the polling station before your proxy has used your vote. You cannot vote yourself if your proxy has already voted for you.

If you go to the polling station yourself, tell the presiding officer that you have a proxy vote but you have come to vote in person.

Can I cancel my proxy vote when I want to?

Yes, but you must tell us in writing. We need to receive this at least 11 working days before an election or your proxy will still get a proxy appointment and will be able to use your vote.

To apply

You can download and complete a proxy vote application form here.

The form must be printed and signed before being sent to us:

Post to:

Electoral Registration Officer
Thanet District Council
Cecil Street
Kent  CT9 1XZ

Fax to: (01843) 290906

Or email to: electoral.services@thanet.gov.uk


You may be able to register anonymously if you are concerned about your name and address appearing on the electoral register because you think that it could affect your personal security.

You will need to:

  • explain why your safety (or the safety of someone in the same household as you) would be at risk if your name and address appeared on the electoral register, and
  • provide documentary evidence of a court order or an attestation from an authorised person to support your application.

How it works

If you’re registered anonymously, your name and address will not appear on the electoral register, and you won’t be included on any registration forms sent to your address.

A code will be added to the end of the section of the register for your polling district and the Electoral Registration Officer will contact you separately and in such a way as to not reveal that you are registered anonymously.

An anonymous registration application is valid for one year (from the date you are added to the electoral register as an anonymous elector). A renewal registration form will be sent to you by, and can be renewed for another 12 month period. Renewals must contain the same level of evidence as the original application.

How to register to vote

Contact electoral.services@thanet.gov.uk for a form, or call 01843 577500. Alternatively, you can write to:

Electoral Services
Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, Kent, CT9 1XZ

Please make sure you:

  • sign the declaration,
  • provide evidence to support your application, and
  • return your completed form and the relevant evidence to us at the address given.

Overseas electors

You can register to vote as an overseas elector if you live permanently (more than six months a year) abroad. You should register with the local authority where you were last registered as an elector in the UK, within the last 15 years.

You may apply for a postal vote to be sent to your address abroad or appoint a proxy. Postal votes are sent out a week to 10 days before election, so please take this into account. The alternative is to appoint a family member or friend to be your proxy, and vote on your behalf. The overseas declarations must be renewed each year.

Crown servant

If you’re working outside the UK as a crown servant or an employee of the British Council, you can still register to vote. You can also register if you’re married to a crown servant or British Council employee, and are accompanying them during their employment abroad.

You may also vote by post or proxy.

HM Armed Forces

If you or your spouse is a member of the forces you can register as a service voter. These declarations are valid for five years, and we’ll write to you at your service address to remind you to renew your application. Alternatively, you can register on the household form which is sent to every property in the district yearly.

The advantage of registering as a service voter is that you can appoint a proxy without having to get your application signed by your employer.

Homeless people and those with no fixed address

If you’re unable to register at a particular address because you’re either a patient in a mental hospital, a person remanded in custody, or homeless with no fixed residence, then you are entitled to register as an elector by making a declaration of local connection.

Declarations of local connection can be made at any time throughout the year, and must include details of where you would be living if you were not detained or a patient, or a place where you have resided in the past.  If you’re homeless, you must give details of where you commonly spend a substantial part of your time.

If you’re residing in a mental hospital or are in custody, you can only vote by post or proxy.


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