PEOPLE are urged to heed new rules introduced for postal votes in this year's elections.

Residents will be heading to the polls on May 2 to vote in the local elections and the West Midlands Mayor and the Police Crime Commissioner.

Voters can apply for a postal vote online by 5pm April 17.

New rules, however, have been brought in by the government around returning postal votes, to toughen up on electoral fraud.

Under the new rules, all postal votes must be returned to Dudley Council by Royal Mail.

If postal votes are hand-delivered, a form must be completed by the person handing them in.

The postal vote handing-in point is at The Elections Office, Dudley Council House, Priory Road, Dudley.

Any postal votes not returned in accordance with the new rule will not be counted.

People must also be registered to vote before midnight on April 16.

Kevin O’Keefe, chief executive of Dudley Council and electoral returning officer, said: "Voting by post is a quick and easy way to make sure residents have their say in the ballot box. But people need to make sure they follow the process if they want their vote to count.

"People try and help by popping in with their postal votes while they are out and about, but it is much easier to just use Royal Mail and let us do the rest.

"Of course, people need to be registered to vote first, but they can find out about this and other useful information on our website."

To find out more go to

People need to remember their ID if they want to vote at a polling station.

Approved forms of ID include a passport, driving licence and some travel passes.

Residents who do not have one of the approved forms of ID can apply for a free voter authority certificate - by applying online by 5pm on April 24.

A form of ID is not needed for a postal vote.