The Electoral Register

Remember, you can only vote if your name is on the current Register of Electors. So don’t miss out.

How can I register to vote?

Since 10 June 2014, under the new system of Individual Electoral Registration, you can register to vote online. You will need to complete the online form and confirm your date of birth and National Insurance number.

Register to vote

Most people who are currently registered to vote will be registered automatically under Individual Electoral Registration.Read more, including what to do if you are not yet registered.

When will my details be added to the Electoral Register?

On the first working day of each month (except in October, November and December), we publish a list of alterations to the Electoral Register. This means that you can amend your details throughout the year, for example if you move house, or have changed your name.

The table below shows the dates by which we need to receive your application or notice of the change in order for it to be included in the next list of alterations.

The table is based on full and correct information being received by the deadline date. If further verification is needed we may contact you and this could delay the date your alterations are published.

Timetable to update your registration
Deadline for receipt of application to register Date added to the register
Thursday 10 July 2014 Friday 1 August 2014
Friday 8 August 2014 Monday 1 September 2014

I've changed my name. What do I need to do?

If your name has changed please contact us in writing with any relevant documentation (eg Deed Poll, Certificate of Citizenship).

Who is responsible for my details?

In England, every Council is required to appoint an Electoral registration Officer who is responsible for compiling and maintaining the register.

In this Borough Gillian Norton, Chief Executive of the Council, holds this post.

There are two registers. Why?

Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers – the electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).

The electoral register lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections.

The register is used for electoral purposes – such as making sure only eligible people can vote – and for other limited purposes specified in law. The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with data-protection legislation.

Who uses the electoral register?

  • Election staff, political parties, candidates and holders of elected office use the register for electoral purposes.
  • Your local council and the British Library hold copies that anyone may look at under supervision. A copy is also held by the Electoral Commission, the Boundary Commissions (which set constituency boundaries for most elections) and the Office for National Statistics.
  • The council can use the register for duties relating to security, enforcing the law and preventing crime. The police and the security services can also use it for law enforcement.
  • The register is used when calling people for jury service.
  • Government departments may buy the register from local registration officers and use it to help prevent and detect crime. They can also use it to safeguard national security by checking the background of job applicants and employees.
  • Credit reference agencies can buy the register. They help other organisations to check the names and addresses of people applying for credit. They also use it to carry out identity checks when trying to prevent and detect money laundering.

It is a criminal offence for anyone to supply or use the register for anything else.

The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details. The personal data in the register must always be processed in line with data-protection legislation.

Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed. Removing your details from the open register would not affect your right to vote.

Who uses the open register?

Users of the open register include:

  • businesses checking the identity and address details of people who apply for their services such as insurance, goods hire and property rental, as well as when they shop online
  • businesses selling age-restricted goods or services, such as alcohol and gambling online, to meet the rules on verifying the age of their customers
  • charities and voluntary agencies, for example to help maintain contact information for those who have chosen to donate bone marrow and to help people separated by adoption to find each other
  • charities, to help with fundraising and contacting people who have made donations
  • debt-collection agencies when tracing people who have changed address without telling their creditors
  • direct-marketing firms when maintaining their mailing lists
  • landlords and letting agents when checking the identity of potential tenants
  • local councils when identifying and contacting residents
  • online directory firms to help users of the websites find people, such as when reuniting friends and families
  • organisations tracing and identifying beneficiaries of wills, pensions and insurance policies
  • private-sector firms to verify details of job applicants.

Permanently ‘opt out’ of the open register

The open register version of the electoral roll contains simply the names and addresses of registered electors, no other details, but is available for general sale and can be used for any commercial activities such as marketing.

Voter registration forms give you the choice of opting out of your details being widely available by ticking a box by your name on the form: but under election law, this choice must be made each year.

Under Section 11 of the Data Protection Act 1998, you can now give the Electoral Services Officer notice that you do not want your name to be used for direct marketing until further notice. Print off the Permanent Opt Out request form(pdf, 36KB) or contact us for a copy.

Please note that this needs to be in writing from each person, you cannot request it on behalf of someone else.

Updated: 25 June 2014