Postal voters warned about new rules ahead of May elections

THE Returning Officer for Rugby has warned residents who vote by post to avoid falling foul of new rules at next month's local elections.
Tom Kittendorf, Deputy Returning Officer for Rugby, with the new signage at the Town Hall, warning voters not to hand-deliver postal votes without completing a return form.
12 April 2024

The Government's Elections Act 2022 has introduced a number of important changes to the way we vote, prompting the council to launch the 'Are You Election Ready?' campaign to raise awareness of the new rules.

And with postal voters set to receive ballot papers ahead of the local elections, the Returning Officer has highlighted key changes to postal voting which come into force for the first time at the elections on Thursday 2 May.

The new rules mean postal voters must now complete and sign a postal vote return form when hand-delivering a vote at a polling station or the Town Hall.

Failure to complete the form means the vote must be rejected before the election count takes place.

A limit on the number of postal votes which can be hand-delivered by a single voter has also been introduced, with a voter now only allowed to hand-deliver up to six postal votes (including the voter's own).

Aftab Razzaq, Returning Officer for Rugby, encouraged electors to return postal votes via the Royal Mail in the pre-paid envelope included with the ballot papers.

He also urged electors to put votes in the post in plenty of time before polling day.

"Sending your postal vote through the Royal Mail removes the requirement to sign a return form, so it's the quickest and easiest way to make sure your vote counts at the elections," Mr Razzaq said.

"We have put up signage at the Town Hall to advise postal voters of the new rules, together with warning stickers on our letter boxes to deter electors from hand-delivering postal votes.

"However, if we receive hand-delivered postal votes without a signed return form, the new rules mean we cannot inform electors of the reason for rejecting their votes until after the election."

Residents who want to hand-deliver postal votes can complete and sign a return form at the Town Hall reception from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Return forms can also be completed and signed at polling stations on election day.

Applications to vote by post vote at next month's elections must be submitted by 5pm on Wednesday (17 April).

In addition to postal votes, the Elections Act 2022 has also introduced a number of changes to voting by proxy and voting from overseas.

And voters who want to vote at a polling station have been reminded of the need to produce a valid form of photo ID in order to receive a ballot paper - a change first introduced at the elections in May 2023.

Information about all the changes to the way we vote, together with how to apply for postal votes, proxy votes or a free Voter Authority Certificate photo ID, can be found online at

Elections for Rugby Borough Council, the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner and a number of the borough's parish councils take place on Thursday 2 May.