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Registering to Vote

What is the electoral register?

The electoral register is the list of everyone who is registered to vote at European, UK Parliamentary, Scottish Government and Local Government elections. You must be on the register to vote.

How do I register to vote?

You can register to vote on-line by clicking here. It is very quick and easy. Remember, you will need to have your national insurance number and date of birth to hand when you register.

Alternatively you can contact the electoral registration office by telephone and an application form will be posted to you. You will need to supply your date of birth and national insurance number with your application form.

When should I register?

You can register at any time.

The register of electors is updated and a new version published each year. However, if you are not already listed on the register or if you want to be registered at a new address, you can apply at any time to have your name included. You can register as soon as you move to a new address.

Additions and deletions to the register can be made every month. Applications have to be made at the beginning of the month in order to be included on the updated register published the following month or during the annual canvass of households.

Please note that in the run up to an election you will only be able to vote at that election if your name has been added to the register of electors up to 12 working days before the date of the election.

Who can register to vote?

To be included on the register you must:-

  • be resident at a qualifying address in the area
  • be a British, or other Commonwealth citizen, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland or of another member state of the European Union
  • not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote (age apart)
  • be aged 16 years or over. You can apply if you will become 18 years of age before the register is next revised in the autumn but you will not be able vote in a UK Parliament or EU Parliament until you are 18 years of age
  • From 5 April 2016, an elector aged 16 or over on date of the poll can vote at Scottish parliamentary elections
  • From 5 May 2016, an elector aged 16 or over on date of the poll can vote in Scottish Local Government elections

Overseas electors

If you are a British citizen living outside the United Kingdom, and you satisfy the conditions set out below, you may register as an overseas elector. This will enable you to vote at Parliamentary and European Parliamentary elections in the UK (if you are a peer you will be entitled to vote only at European Parliamentary elections).

You must be a British citizen. You must also satisfy one set of the following two sets of conditions:

Set 1: (for those who were registered as electors before leaving the UK, within the last 15 years)

  • your name was included in a register of parliamentary electors in respect of an address in the UK,
  • that entry in the register was made on the basis that you were resident, or to be treated for the purposes of registration as resident, at that address,
  • that entry in the register was in force at any time falling within the period of 15 years ending immediately before the date of your application, and
  • Subsequent to that entry ceasing to have effect no entry was made in any register of parliamentary electors on the basis that you were resident, or to be treated for the purposes of registration as resident, at any other address.

All of the conditions in the set must be met.

OR

Set 2: (for those who were too young to be registered as electors before leaving the UK, within the last 15 years)

  • you were last resident in the United Kingdom within the period of 15 years ending immediately before the date of your application,
  • you were by reason only of your age incapable of being included in any register of parliamentary electors in force on the last day on which you were resident in the United Kingdom, and
  • The address at which you were resident on that day was situated within the constituency concerned and your parent or guardian was included, in respect of that address, in a register of parliamentary electors or a register of local government electors in force on that day.

All of the conditions in the set must be met.

If you would like to register as an overseas elector, contact the Electoral Registration Office for further details and an application form.

Crown servants and members of the forces

There are separate arrangements for registering Crown servants and members of the armed forces serving abroad. Contact the Electoral Registration Office for details and an application form.

Two versions of the register – 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: 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. It is also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as detecting crime (e.g. fraud), calling people for jury service or checking credit applications.

The Open Register: 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. 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 does not affect your right to vote.

You can find more information about both registers and how they may be used at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

Your Personal Information

We will only use the information you give us for electoral purposes. We will look after personal information securely and we will follow the Data Protection Act 1998. We will not give personal information about you and the other people in your household to anyone else or another organisation unless we have to by law.

What is Individual Electoral Registration?

The Government has introduced a new system of electoral registration. The new system, called Individual Electoral Registration and came into effect on 19 September 2014.

The purpose of introducing Individual Electoral Registration is to:

  • Increase the public trust in the new electoral registration system.
  • Encourage people to take individual responsibility for their own votes.
  • Introduce more convenient channels for registration.
  • Reduce the risk and perception of electoral fraud, while maximising completeness and accuracy of the electoral register.

If you want to know more about the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration click here



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