Information about the register

The Full Electoral and Open Register

Since a change of law in 2002 you have a choice about who can access your details from the electoral register. There are strict rules about what the register can be used for. There are two versions of the same list:

The full electoral register is everyone who is registered to vote. It is there to be used for elections, but can also be used to check credit applications and to stop crime.

The main use of the full electoral register is so that you can vote in elections and referendums, but the law allows the full electoral register to be provided to the people and organisations such as those listed below:

  • The Electoral Commission, for checking whether donations made to political parties are from registered voters
  • The Boundary Commission, to enable it to check electorate information when re-drawing electoral boundaries
  • Elected representatives, such as MP’s and local councillors, so that they know who they represent. 
  • Candidates at elections, to enable them to canvass effectively 
  • National and local political parties, to assist candidates and for campaigning purposes 
  • Police Forces and Security Services, for the detection and prevention of crime and terrorism 
  • Libraries and Archive Services, where the register may be viewed under supervision

Details of those who can have copies of the electoral register and what they can use it for are given in the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001. It is a criminal offence not to comply with the regulations. For example, it is a criminal offence either to pass the full register on to anyone or to use it for any purpose except as provided for by legislation.

The Open Register

We are obliged to produce and sell a copy of what is called the ‘Open Register’. The ‘Open Register’ is separate from the voting register but is compiled from the details given on the individual registration form.

The information can be sold to commercial companies and used for marketing purposes. If you do NOT wish your details to be used in this way then please tick the box on the registration form and your details will then be left off the Open Register. 

When sharing data the Electotral Services Unit recognises that information needs to be treated securely and we therefore adhere to security guidance for the safe transfer of data. If you have any questions or queries in regards to the electoral register then please contact the Electoral Services Unit.

Electoral Register and Council Tax

The electoral register is completely separate from the council tax register. If your name appears on one list it is not automatically on the other. Some people who are entitled to register to vote do not have to pay the full council tax, for example students. Similarly, some people who cannot register to vote here, for instance Americans, may still have to pay council tax.

Who will have my details?

Download the leaflet which explains the ‘Opt out’ option when registering to vote.

When will you add my name?

Under the Rolling Registration process once you have registered, your name will be added to the register within seven weeks of your application. Following the annual canvass the new Register of Electors will be published annually on 1st December.