The UK Government is changing how we vote. From May 2023, you will need to show photo ID when you vote at a polling station.
Every January we are required to send a written notice to any absent voters (those who vote by postal, proxy, or postal proxy) if their signature has been held on file for more than five years.
On 15 December 2022, the relevant electors who meet these criteria will be sent a notice, a Refresh Form, and pre-paid return envelope. These will need to be returned by 5 January 2023 or a reminder will be sent. The final deadline to return forms is 26 January 2023.
|Notices sent||15 December 2022|
|First deadline||5 January 2023|
|Reminder notices sent||12 January 2023|
|Final deadline||26 January 2023|
If a person wishes to continue as an absent voter at future elections, they must complete and return the Refresh Form using the enclosed pre-paid reply envelope.
If an absent vote is no longer required, this should be marked on the appropriate section of the form and returned to us so we can remove the absent vote. That person will then be required to attend their designated Polling Station in order to vote in future elections.
The notices should be returned to the Electoral Services department by 5 January 2023 to avoid a reminder notice being issued to them.
If a new signature is not received by 26 January 2023, the absent vote will be removed (as above, that person will then be required to attend their polling station, unless they make a new valid application for an absent vote).
If you have any questions, please use the FAQs section below.
If you cannot find the answer you need, please contact the Electoral Services department by email at email@example.com
Frequently asked questions
What is the absent vote signature refresh?
Absent voters are people who use postal, proxy, or postal proxy votes. When an absent vote is requested, a signature must be supplied to hold on file. Each year in January a written notice must be sent to all absent voters if their signature has been held on file for more than 5 years. If an updated signature is not provided before the final deadline, the absent voting arrangement will be cancelled. That person will then be required to attend their Polling Station if they do not later make a new valid application for an absent vote.
This signature refresh exercise is to ensure that our absent voters’ signature records are as up to date and accurate as possible.
I have completed the form using blue ink, not black
If the signature is not acceptable we will send another notice with the reminders. The scanner will read the signature if a firm hand has been used.
I don’t want a postal or proxy vote anymore
Please tick the relevant box located underneath the name and address section of the notice. Please remember to sign the form or it will not be a valid request.
My surname has changed since I completed the application. Which name should I put on the notice?
If the pre-printed name on the form is the correct name, you have already informed us of your name change and you can sign your current name. If the pre-printed name is incorrect, please complete and sign the form with your new signature. You must include a letter explaining that you have changed your name and sign it with both your old and new signatures. In addition, we will need a copy of your marriage certificate or other proof of your change of name such as a copy of the Deed Poll.
I am getting married or changing my name very soon (before reminders are sent). Which name should I put on the notice?
Please do not complete the first notice you receive. Instead, wait until you receive the reminder form. You can then complete and sign the form with your new signature. Please return the notice with a letter explaining that you have changed your name and sign it with both your old and new signatures.
In addition, we will need a copy of your marriage certificate or other proof of your change of name such as a copy of the Deed Poll.
Please remember that we must receive the form, letter and proof by the final deadline or you will lose your absent vote and will have to re-apply.
I am getting married or changing my name after the reminder date. Which name should I put on the notice?
Please complete and sign the form with your current signature.
When you change your name, please send a letter to the Electoral Services department explaining the change and sign it with both your previous and new signatures. In addition, we will need a copy of your marriage certificate or other proof of your change of name, such as a copy of the Deed Poll. We will then send you a new application form to complete with your new details.
What should I do if I am unable to sign my name?
Please refer to the section on the form headed Information about this form, below that you will find a section called What if I cannot sign the form. If applicable, tick the box requesting a signature waiver and we will send a form for you or your helper to complete. Please call us on 01263 513811 if you have any further queries regarding this.
I have a signature waiver on my absent vote. Do I need to do anything?
If you have a current signature waiver then you are not affected by the signature refresh as there is no signature on your record.
My signature changes each time I sign it
If your signature changes considerably each time you sign, please email the Electoral Services department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide your contact details and we will contact you with further advice.
This signature refresh exercise is to ensure that our absent voters’ signature records are as up to date and accurate as possible. Depending on the reason why your signature changes, we may be able to offer a waiver of signature.
A form has been sent to someone who has passed away
We are very sorry for any distress that this may have caused.
In order to remove a deceased person from our register, we need to have received either a copy of the death certificate or a formal notification from the registrars’ office. We receive weekly updates from registrars and the Tell Us Once service of deaths within North Norfolk.
Unfortunately, a notification of death may not be received in time for us to be able to prevent a letter from being sent. We appreciate that this may be distressing for relatives. It would be helpful if you could contact the office on 01263 513811 to determine whether we are aware of the death and, if not, how the matter can be addressed so as to avoid further upset.
Is this a genuine request? I am concerned that it may be a scam.
Please be assured that this request is genuine. By law, we have to undertake this exercise in January each year to obtain a new signature from absent voters where the signatures we hold are more than 5 years old. Signatures change for many reasons such as illness, frailty, marriage, or divorce.
This process helps us to ensure that our records are as up to date as possible and to delete any absent votes that are no longer required or valid.
I have had an operation on my hand and cannot sign very well
Please do not return the first form you receive. Instead, please wait for the reminder to be sent out. Hopefully, you will have recovered sufficiently to sign by that date. However, if that is not the case and you are still having difficulty using your hand, please sign the form as best you can so that we can retain your absent vote. Then, once your hand is fully recovered, please get in touch with us and we will request another signature.
I have moved out of the area but have received a notice at my old address
Please state on the form you have received that you have moved out of the area and wish to be removed from our electoral register. We will need your signature to be able to comply with your request.
We cannot stop the reminder process, so if we do not hear from you by the first deadline, a reminder will go out. If no response has been received by the final deadline, we will delete your absent vote. You will, however, remain on the electoral register until either you request in writing for us to remove your details, or we receive notification from your new Council that you have moved to their area.