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Electoral Services Privacy Notice

This privacy notice is designed to help you understand how we use personal information when delivering our electoral services we have set out below the services types, the information we may use to deliver the services, who we may share it with, and how long we will keep it.

Information we hold about you

We only collect and use the minimum amount of personal information required when delivering a service to you. Wherever possible we use non-identifiable personal information. The service may use some or all of the personal information below:

If you are an individual who is registered, or applying to be registered to vote, the information that we collect about you is: 

  • your name, address, nationality, date of birth and contact details
  • unique identifiers such as your National Insurance Number and signatures for absent vote checking
  • scanned application forms, documentary evidence and any letters of correspondence
  • notes about any relevant circumstances that you have told us about
  • your previous or any redirected address
  • the other occupants in your home
  • if you are aged over 75 or under 18
  • whether you have chosen to opt out of the open version of the register

When you apply to register to vote, to verify your identity the data you provide will be processed by the individual Electoral Registration Digital Service managed by the Cabinet Office. The information that we collect about you is:

  • name, address and date of birth
  • National Insurance number and nationality

Where it is not possible to verify an elector’s identity via the individual Electoral Registration Digital Service, we may need additional information from you. This may be done by requesting a recognised form of identification:

  • proof of identity such as passport, photo driving licence, national identity card or birth certificate
  • proof of address such as utility bill, bank statement, credit card statement (all no more than three months old), current driving licence, current TV licence, local authority tax bill or HMRC tax document (no more than one year old).

If you are employed to work on the annual canvass/election day, the information that we collect about you is:

  • your name (inc. title), address, telephone number and email address
  • gender
  • your National Insurance number
  • your financial details i.e. bank details in order to pay you correctly
  • car registration details
  • previous employment data for those employed at elections or annual canvass

If you are candidate to stand at an election, the information we will collect about you is:

  • your name, address, date of birth, email address, telephone number and signature
  • candidate qualifications
  • the name, address, office address and signature of appointed election agent

If you are an elector and you have requested an absent vote (i.e. to vote by post or proxy) the information we will collect is your name, address, date of birth and signature.

For postal voters, redirection addresses will be collected and for proxy voters details of the elector's nominated proxies will be processed.

We may also collect sensitive information about you called special category data including:

  • racial and ethnic origin
  • political opinions such as information containing within subscribed nomination papers
  • health data (this may be contained within applications to vote by proxy)

In limited circumstances we will also collect sensitive data relating to ‘criminal convictions and offences’ under the Data Protection Act 2018. For example, the Electoral Registration Officer may receive a request to register a vote from a prisoner on remand or an application for anonymous registration may contain references to the alleged commission of offences by an identifiable third party.

Why we need your information and how we use it

We use your information to:

  • compile and maintain the electoral register (there are two versions of the electoral register, the full version and the edited/open version)
  • fulfil our legal obligations relating to the supply or sale of the electoral register
  • ensure you are registered to vote in any election or referendum for which you are eligible
  • maintain a complete and accurate electoral register throughout the year
  • if you are employed by the service and want to volunteer to work for an election (including staff employed directly by the Electoral Registration Officer or the Returning Officer) we need your information to allow you to do this and manage your employment
  • ensure elections and referenda are conducted in a robust, fair and transparent way
  • conduct an election in accordance with the law
  • compile and use data relating to
  • election candidates
  • voters who propose, second or subscribe candidate nomination papers
  • election, Counting and Polling Agents and their guests/partners
  • political Parties and their officials
  • staff employed at elections
  • contact details for polling stations and count centres
  • if you are employed by the service and want to volunteer to work for an election (including staff employed directly by the Electoral Registration Officer or the Returning Officer) we need your information to allow you to do this and manage your employment
  • carry out our electoral registration and administration duties
  • if you apply to be an absent voter, we need your information to compile and maintain a record of absent voters
  • fulfil our obligations relating to the supply of absent voting lists
  • prepare for the administration of local and national elections and referenda, including:
  • determining which electors are entitled to be issued with ballot papers at polling stations
  • determining which electors are entitled to vote by way of an absent vote
  • issuing poll cards to electors and to proxies
  • if you are a postal voter, issuing your postal vote pack and receiving your completed postal vote and postal voting statement
  • if you a candidate at an election, processing and determining your nomination papers, publishing statutory notices containing your details, producing ballot papers and managing election processes in which you will be involved
  • if you are an election agent at an election, publishing statutory notices containing your details and managing election processes in which you will be involved
  • if you are a counting agent, polling agent, postal vote agent, nominating officer or similar official, managing election processes in which you will be involved
  • deal with and respond appropriately to any enquiry or complaint
  • if you are employed by the service and want to volunteer to work for an election (including staff employed directly by the Electoral Registration Officer or the Returning Officer) we need your information to allow you to do this and manage your employment

Who your information may be shared with  

Sometimes we may need to share your information, but we will only do so where it is necessary or required by law. We will only share the minimum information for each circumstance.

The information you provide is held in electoral registers which are maintained by the Electoral Registration Officer who, using information received, keep two versions of the register – the full electoral register and the open (edited) electoral register.

We may sometimes need to share some of your information with:

  • the British Library
  • the Returning Officer
  • UK Statistics Authority
  • the Electoral Commission
  • the Local Government Boundary Commission for England
  • elected representatives
  • election candidates
  • constituency political parties
  • national political parties
  • to members of the public inspecting the electoral register (please note that the full electoral register can only be inspected under supervision and extracts may only be taken by way of handwritten notes)
  • in relation to the full version of the electoral register, to government departments and other specified public bodies upon payment of the statutory fee
  • in relation to the edited/open version of the electoral register, to any person paying the statutory fee
  • Boundary Commission for England
  • Jury Summoning Bureau
  • elected representatives (MP, MEPS, local councillors)
  • Government departments or bodies
  • the Council
  • police and crime commissioner
  • National Fraud Initiative
  • political parties
  • registered third parties
  • parish and town councils
  • credit reference agencies

The Electoral Registration Officer is legally obliged to provide absent voter information to:

  • elected representatives
  • election candidates
  • constituency political parties
  • national political parties

The Electoral Registration Officer makes the marked versions of the electoral register and the absent voting lists (i.e. the registers and lists that indicate who has voted at a particular election or referenda) available for inspection in certain circumstances. Copies may also be supplied, in certain circumstances, to:

  • the Electoral Commission
  • elected representatives
  • constituency political parties
  • national political parties
  • election candidates
  • police forces and similar agencies
  • Government departments and other specified public bodies

As part of this process your data will be shared with the Department of Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office suppliers that are data processors for the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service. More information can be found on GOV.UK.

The Returning Officer is legally obliged to publish certain personal information (such as that relating to election candidates and election agents) in the form of public notices.

We also have to disclose (share) your information with our Software providers and contracted printers.

To verify your identity, the data you provide will be processed by the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service managed by the Cabinet Office.  As part of this process your data will be shared with the Department of Work and Pensions and the Cabinet Office suppliers that are data processors for the Individual Electoral Registration Digital Service. You can find out more information on GOV.UK.

The information contained on the electoral register will also be used to produce and send poll cards, postal and proxy poll cards, postal votes, postal proxy votes, household enquiry forms, invitation to register applications, attestations, evidence request and absent vote applications.

The open (edited) 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.

The Data Controller

Ourselves, the Electoral Registration Officer and the Returning Officer jointly own the data and are the Data Controllers for this processing.

It should be noted that for many of the service’s functions it will not be processing personal data on behalf of us. It will instead be processing personal data on behalf of one or more of the following statutory office holders:

  • the Electoral Registration Officer is appointed by the ourselves under section 8 of the Representation of the People Act 1983
  • the Returning Officer is appointed for the purposes of local elections by ourselves under section 35 of the Representation of the People Act 1983
  • the Acting Returning Officer is appointed for parliamentary elections for any parliamentary constituency for which that position is held under section 28 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 by the registration officer referred to at (a) above;
  • the Local Returning Officer is appointed for the purposes of the administration of European parliamentary and Police Crime Commissioner elections within the Cheshire West local counting area
  • the Counting Officer is appointed and responsible for the administration, within our local authority area, of any local, regional or national referendum
  • any other statutory office holder whose duties relate to administering elections or referenda and whose office is held by virtue of holding one or more of the offices described in (a) to (e) above or is otherwise required by law be held by one of our officers 

Although when referring to the above statutory office holders this privacy notice generally only makes reference to the “Electoral Registration Officer” or the “Returning Officer” it is important to note that the Electoral Registration Officer and the Returning Officer are separate data controllers from ourselves.

The personal information we have collected from you will be shared with fraud prevention agencies who will use it to prevent fraud and money-laundering and to verify your identity. If fraud is detected, you could be refused certain services, finance, or employment.

The lawful basis for the processing

The legislation we rely on when using your personal information to meet our legal obligations or public tasks includes but is not limited to:

  • General Data Protection Regulation Article 6 part (a), (b) and (e)
  • General Data Protection Regulation Article 9 part (b) and (i)
  • Equality Act 2005
  • Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013
  • Representation of the People Regulations 2001
  • Local Government Act 1972
  • Representation of the People Act 1983
  • Representation of the People Act 1985
  • Representation of the People Act 2000
  • Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000
  • European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002
  • Local Government Act 2003
  • Electoral Administration Act 2006
  • Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013
  • Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001
  • Representation of the People (Combination of Polls) (England and Wales) Regulations 2004
  • Business Improvement Districts (England) Regulations 2004
  • Review of Polling Districts and Polling Places (Parliamentary Elections) Regulations 2006
  • Local Elections (Principal Areas) (England and Wales) Rules 2006
  • Local Elections (Parishes and Communities) (England and Wales) Rules 2006
  • Local Authorities (Referendums) (Petitions) (England) Regulations 2011
  • Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (England) Regulations 2012
  • Neighbourhood Planning (Referendums) Regulations 2012
  • Representation of the People (Provision of Information Regarding Proxies) Regulations 2013

Protecting your information

Your information will be securely stored on our network.

How long will we keep your personal information?

We will only use your personal information whilst delivering the service to you and to deal with any questions or complaints that we may receive about this, unless the law requires us to keep it for a longer period. In practice, this means that your information will be kept for:

  • European election ballot papers will be held for one year after an election and destroyed securely after in line with the European Parliamentary Elections Regulations 1999
  • local election ballot papers will be held for 12 months from close of poll and destroyed securely after in line with the Representation of the People Regulations 1986 and Local Elections (Parishes and Communities) Rules 1986
  • summary certification of those eligible to vote will be kept for 999 years in line with Representation of the People Regulations 1986
  • the list of people registered to vote on the Electoral Register will be kept permanently in line with Representation of the People Regulations 1986
  • the consolidated returns of votes received will be held for 12 months from close of poll and destroyed securely after
  • if you are election staff, and you have provided your financial via the MEA app these will be kept until you notify us that you no longer want to work as election staff. Upon receipt of your notification your details will be deleted.

If we need to use your information for research or reports, your information will be anonymised and any information taken from notes (hand written or typed) during any consultation sessions will be securely destroyed. The information will continue to be used in a summarised and anonymised form in any research reports or papers that are published. The anonymised information in the papers may be of historic interest and may be held in public archives indefinitely

Your rights

Under data protection law, you have rights including:

  • your right of access - you have the right to ask us for copies of your personal information
  • your right to rectification - you have the right to ask us to rectify information you think is inaccurate. You also have the right to ask us to complete information you think is incomplete
  • your right to restriction of processing - you have the right to ask us to restrict the processing of your information in certain circumstances
  • your right to object to processing - you have the right to object to the processing of your personal data in certain circumstances
  • your right to data portability - you have the right to ask that we transfer the information you gave us to another organisation, or to you, in certain circumstances

You are not required to pay any charge for exercising your rights. If you make a request, we have one month to respond to you.

To make a request follow the instructions on our Data Protection for you page.

How to complain if you are unhappy about how your data is used

You can complain directly to our Data Protection team online or by post.

  • Contact the DPO
  • By post: Data Protection Officer, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BE

You also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office using the following details:

Will my personal information be accessible outside the UK?

Should the transfer of personal information outside of the UK become necessary, it will only take place if permitted by law, and then only where there are appropriate safeguards in place to protect the personal information.

Your information is stored within the UK.

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