What is the Electoral Register?
The Electoral Register is a list of everyone who is registered to vote. You can only vote at elections if your name is on the Electoral Register. You are not automatically registered to vote just because you pay Council Tax. You must make a separate registration either online or by completing a form.
Once a year a canvass of the whole borough takes place, normally between August and November and then a new register is published on 1 December each year.
The way you register to vote has changed
From 10 June 2014 the way you register to vote changed and Individual Electoral Registration (IER) has been introduced to try and prevent voter fraud. Now everyone wanting to register has to provide their date of birth and National Insurance number (NINO) when they register.
Rolling registration and individual electoral registration (IER)
Rolling registration was introduced in February 2001 to make it possible for people to register to vote at any time instead of only once a year. So now when you move home, changing address no longer means leaving your vote behind.
If you know you are not registered you can register either online via www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, or if you don't have access to the internet then you can request a registration form from Electoral Services.
To find out more about the changes go to www.gov.uk/voting-in-the-uk
Are you registered?
To confirm whether your name is on the current register, contact Electoral Services who will be able to check for you or you can inspect the register yourself at the town hall.
Who can register to vote?
The following are able to register if you are not sure if you are able to register please contact Electoral Services
- Anyone aged 16 or over (but you cannot vote until your 18th birthday)
- British or Commonwealth citizens (view list of countries)
- Citizens of the Irish Republic
- Citizens of other European Union (EU) countries (view list of countries)
- Students - If you are a student living away from home you can register to vote at your home address and at where you live at university or college but you only vote once at any single election
- Homeless people who were unable to register because they had no fixed address are now able to make a declaration of local connection - giving an address of, or nearest to, a place where they spend a substantial amount of their time, for example a local day centre
- Patients in mental hospitals (other than those who are held there because of criminal behaviour) are able to register to vote without the need to pass the additional test of making a patient's declaration
- Unconvicted or remand prisoners are able to register in the establishment where they are held if they are likely to be spending a long period remanded in custody. Convicted prisoners are still unable to vote.
There is a provision to enable people who were eligible voters in the UK, but are now permanently resident overseas, to continue to register for at parliamentary elections.
The qualifying period for registration is up to 15 years from the last time the voter's name was entered on a Register of Electors as an ordinary UK voter. Overseas Electors must register in the area and at the address that they were last registered as an ordinary UK voter. Once registered, the registration is valid for one year. The Electoral Registration Officer will contact the voter when their registration is due for renewal.
You can register on-line at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
Updates to the register
The current Register of Electors was published on 1 December 2016 and the register will be updated each month with a deadline for receipt of applications 15 days before the end of each month (see below).
Any objections to any alterations to be made to the register must be made to the Electoral Registration Officer, in writing, within five working days of the closing deadline. Once the objection period has passed the monthly changes to the register are sent out to everyone that holds the register. This includes the main credit agencies.
At election time there is an exception to the normal deadline rule when any eligible elector may make an application to be added to the register up to 12 working days before the election.
The timetable for Rolling Registration applications for 2016/17 is as follows:
|Forms received by||Date added to the register|
|12 December 2016||3 January 2017|
|10 January 2017||1 February 2017|
|7 February 2017||1 March 2017|
|10 March 2017||3 April 2017|
|24 March 2017*||4 April 2017|
|4 April 2017*||12 April 2017|
|13 April 2017*||25 April 2017|
|10 May 2017||1 June 2017|
|9 June 2017||1 July 2017|
|10 July 2017||1 August 2017|
|10 August 2017||1 September 2017|
*: These dates are the interim dates for the election on 4 May 2017.
Register - full and open (edited) versions
There are two versions of the register. Your details will appear on the full version of the register, but you can choose whether or not your details appear on the open version (also known as the edited register).
Why are there 2 versions?
Using information received from the public, registration officers keep two registers - the full electoral register and the open register (also known as the edited register).
The full 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 (eg fraud)
- calling people for jury service
- checking credit applications.
The open register is an extract of the electoral register, but is not used for elections. It is available for general sale and can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it is used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details and for commercial activities such as marketing. 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.
Inspection of the register
The open (edited) register can be inspected at the town hall during normal office hours Monday to Friday.
The full version of the current register is available for public inspection. However, the Representation of the People Regulations 2006 state that this inspection must take place under supervision.
Anyone wishing to inspect the full version of the register can do so by prior appointment only. Please note that information from the full register may only be made by making hand written notes. photocopying or electronic recordings are not permitted by law. Information taken from the register must not be used for commercial purposes, unless the information is also published in the open version of the register. Please contact Electoral Services on 01372 732152 for further information.
Please note that subject to staff availability, inspection time may be limited to 20 minutes per appointment. Please also give 24 hours' notice of any intention to inspect.
Please note that it is only possible to inspect the current version of the full register. Anyone wishing to inspect historic versions of the register for research purposes are advised that copies are held at the Surrey history centre.
Although you now have the option of withholding your name from the open register, you may find that your name is still included on mail marketing lists and you continue to receive unsolicited mail. If you don't want to receive advertising mailings you should write to: Mailing Preference Service, FREEPOST 29 LON20771, London W1E OZT or visit their website www.mpsonline.org.uk.
Need more help?
If you need more advice, please contact electoral services at the Town Hall, The Parade, Epsom Surrey, KT18 5BY Tel: 01372 732120 or 732152 or email: email@example.com